When we wrote about working the Airbnb system to help offset the cost of your vacation–or rent–last year, a lot of people were pissed, saying that the service displaces potential renters and is a nightmare for neighbors.
Lately we’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the city has been cracking down on Airbnb rentals–and not just on people who rent out their apartments in violation of their leases, and to their neighbors’ dismay, but also on people who say, own a three-family brownstone and rent out one apartment in it. This week Airbnb’r Nigel Warren was fined $2400 for renting out a bedroom in his apartment. Airbnb it seems, is going to try to change the law in New York, and defend your right to rent your room to Danish college students, while you crash at your boyfriend’s place to pay down your student loans. Just don’t plan on that extra cash anytime soon, knowing how long these proceses take in the city. Here’s what Airbnb sent to New York members today:
Yesterday an Administrative Law Judge in New York fined Nigel Warren $2,400 for renting his space on Airbnb. We’ve seen the coverage, with headlines like “Airbnb illegal in New York City,” and can only imagine that this has left many of you confused and concerned.Let me start by saying that Nigel is not alone, and neither are you. We intervened in this case because it was so clearly contrary to the intent and text of the New York law, and we are already examining our options to appeal this ruling on Nigel’s behalf. We know what an enormous burden cases like this — however rare – can place on an individual host, and that is why we are advocating so strongly to clarify the law in New York and make it more fair.We know from the amazing stories you have shared with us that many of you depend on the extra income you earn from hosting to help you afford to stay in your homes, make ends meet, or simply follow your dreams. And beyond the economic benefits to you as hosts and the neighborhoods around you, Airbnb is a community of people establishing connections and making new friends around the corner and around the world. So we are not going anywhere.
Put simply, we believe that this ruling was wrong on the law, and bad for New York. There is a very clear exemption to short-term rental restrictions in New York for situations – like this one – where a tenant is present during a rental. That is why we intervened in this case, and why we are working on how to appeal. But most importantly, this points out with absolute clarity that the laws in New York need to be changed so this can never happen again. While there is universal acknowledgement that hosts like Nigel were not the intended target of the law, that provides little comfort to the few who find themselves subject to these fines.
The bottom line of yesterday’s news is that the judge’s decision simply creates even more confusion around an already confusing New York law. As always, we urge our hosts to learn about and obey all of the local laws in their cities. But it is often hard to predict how individual city administrators will interpret laws like this, and that needs to change.
If you are interested in learning more about the background of the case and Nigel’s ruling, read my post on the Public Policy Blog:http://publicpolicy.airbnb.
In the meantime, please know how grateful we are for your continued support and we will be sure to keep you posted as this discussion progresses!
Airbnb, Head of Global Public Policy
Sent with ♥ from Airbnb HQ
99 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA 94103