The main players in this battle seem to be the city and the hotel industry versus Airbnb. However, ordinary New Yorkers are also taking sides, either blaming Airbnb for driving up rents and destroying neighborhoods or in favor of the company as an additional source of income.
So exactly how would greater restrictions on permitted Airbnb short-term rentals affect NYC? Here is the current status of the Airbnb versus NYC battle and what it means for hosts.
A Brief History of the NYC Airbnb Rules
In 2010, Krueger and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried presented a bill that was designed to make it illegal to sublet multiple-unit dwellings for less than 30 days. The bill, which was later signed into law as the Illegal Hotel Law, made a large number of Airbnb listings illegal.
Despite the name of the law, Krueger contends that the law was not done in collusion with the hotel industry and the majority of the law's provisions had actually predated Airbnb's existence.
Hotel Industry Versus Airbnb
However, Airbnb spokesman Peter Schottenfels claims that the hotel industry is actually using private investigators to conduct sting operations in order to bust Airbnb hosts who continue to advertise illegal short-term rentals, namely apartments and rooms, on Airbnb. The responsible organization, known as Share Better, is a partnership between hotel union and industry leaders that was designed to expose illegal Airbnb activity.
Share Better is funded by the Hotel Association of New York City and the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council. In the past year, group said that it would spend more than $1 million to uncover Airbnb listings faster by conducting monthly stings.
Is Airbnb Bad for NYC?
The dispute doesn’t only involve the hotel industry, Airbnb is also fighting against a number of studies which propose that the company is having a negative impact on rental prices, in NYC and even in the rest of the country.
FastCompany reviewed several studies that were done on Airbnb. In one report published by the New York City's comptroller's office, the study reported that Airbnb had contributed 9.2% to New York City rent increases between 2009 and 2016. However, Airbnb and AirDNA, a third-party data firm, are fighting back against this study saying that the comptroller misrepresent data from AirDNA, the firm whose research was used in the study.
Another study commissioned by the Hotel Trades Council and the AFL-CIO found that between the years 2014 and 2017, Airbnb resulted in a 1.4% rise in median long-term rents in the city. However, even studies not funded by the hotel industry have determined that Airbnb is impacting NYC rents.
An MIT study found that that a 1% increase in Airbnb listings results in a 0.018% increase in U.S. rents. As a result, it is clear that the findings of these studies are conflicting.
The Potential Impact of an Airbnb NYC Ban
So if NYC decides to turn against Airbnb, how would it impact hosts? The potential outcomes are numerous and include the following:
- Airbnb hosts would have to be registered. In lieu of a complete ban, Airbnb hosts would likely be limited to those who have obtained the proper permits.