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Governor Cuomo Bans Airbnb From Listing Short-Term Rentals In New York (nypost.com) 160

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New York Post: Gov. Cuomo on Friday bowed to pressure from the hotel industry and signed into law one of the nation's toughest restrictions on Airbnb -- including hefty fines of up to $7,500 for people who rent out space in their apartments. Backers of the punitive measure -- which applies to rentals of less than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present -- say many property owners use Airbnb and similar sites to offer residential apartments as short-term rentals to visitors, hurting the hotel business while taking residential units off the Big Apple's high-priced housing market. Enforcement, however, will be a huge challenge, as thousands of short-term apartment rentals are listed in the city despite a 2010 law that prohibits rentals of less than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present. Violators could be turned in by neighbors or landlords opposed to the practice, or the state could monitor the site to look for potential violations. But beyond that how the law would be enforced was not immediately clear. The new law won't apply to rentals in single-family homes, row houses or apartment spare rooms if the resident is present. But will apply to co-ops and condos. Airbnb mounted a last-ditch effort to kill the measure, proposing alternative regulations that the company argued would address concerns about short-term rentals without big fines. Tenants who violate current state law and list their apartments for rentals of less than 30 days would face fines of $1,000 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second and $7,500 for a third. An investigation of Airbnb rentals from 2010 to 2014 by the state attorney general's office found that 72 percent of the units in New York City were illegal, with commercial operators constituting 6 percent of the hosts and supplying 36 percent of the rentals. As of August, Airbnb had 45,000 city listings and another 13,000 across the state.
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Governor Cuomo Bans Airbnb From Listing Short-Term Rentals In New York

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Forgive my Saturday school house rock education but each state is has the same separation of duties as the Federal government, don't they?

    Sounds like an overreach of the Executive branch in NY.

    • signed into law

      So just like Mike Pence did "all of those things".... right after the legislative branch signed off on it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The headline is terrible. This was about the Governor signing the legislation that was passed by the NYS legislature. You would know that if you read the article (non-sense I know)

    • Frankly, I think a court challenge would be fairly brief and one sided. You have the freedom to pick who stays in your house, clearly, under freedom of assembly.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ah, but this isn't about letting someone simply stay in your house, but engaging in business.

        This isn't Edmunds Act level either, it's rather clearly on the level commerce, and the state, as well as local authorities, have that within their auspices.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          Now those who have subletting clauses in their rental contracts have reason to sue the shit out of Cumstain.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @01:07AM (#53128393)

        You have the freedom to pick who stays in your house, clearly, under freedom of assembly.

        This law is about "owner not present" rentals. You can pick anyone you like to share your house, as a boarder or roommate. But you do NOT have the right to pick anyone you like as a tenant in unshared living space. Federal "fair housing" laws apply.

        This NY law may be stupid (and IMO it is), but it is unlikely that a court would find it unconstitutional. There is plenty of precedent for government regulations in this area.

  • ..that new tech threatens it

    It's easy to see the old school fighting back

    I love new tech! but I recognize that it's an imperfect work in progress that I strongly believe will improve

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hotels should just advertise their rooms on Airbnb. If they are a good deal, people will choose them.
      Boom! Problem solved.

    • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @10:10PM (#53127633) Homepage

      It's not new tech, AirBnB is pretty much a sublet which is and has been against the terms of most lease agreements since forever.

      The twist is that a lot of their bookings are not Bill and Jan renting out the apartment while they're away on holiday but the landlord who's thrown his tenants out because he can make more on short term rentals without going through the task of having his building rezoned as a hotel.

      • It's not new tech, AirBnB is pretty much a sublet which is and has been against the terms of most lease agreements since forever.

        You are talking about rental contracts - an issue between lessor and lessee.

        This law is quite different - it criminalises subletting and even plain letting for periods under one month. There's little reason for it except that the hotel industry has greased enough palms to get a law passed in their favour.

        • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @04:46AM (#53128873)

          There's little reason for it except that the hotel industry has greased enough palms to get a law passed in their favour.

          Housing shortage is one good reason, safety is another. Plus it's a nuisance for the neighbours to have short stay guests partying all night and making a fucking pigsty of the building.

          Most of these laws are on the books to make a city a nicer place to live. Sites like AirBnB and Uber are not about sharing but about selfish parasitic behaviour. I hope cities across the world will follow New York's example on this one.

        • There's plenty of reason for it, it's a public nuisance. No-one wants their neighbouring houses/apartments turned into motel rooms.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I own and live in a condo apartment in a big city. My condo association has banned AirBnB and similar, and I'm glad. When you have streams of short-term renters in your building, 80 percent of them might be a young couple on vacation or parents for their kids' college graduation, but it's the other 20 percent that worries me. They could set up a meth lab, deal drugs or throw wild parties and then move on before the sheriff arrives. They could trash the common areas and disappear with no forwarding addr

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @07:41PM (#53126883)
    The idea that people should be free to conduct business seems to be foreign to NYC. And has anyone bothered to actually confront how many issues this opens up? A girl stays with me for three weeks. Who gets to question me about why she is with me? Is she a relative, a friend, a sex partner or a health aid as I am an older man? Who exactly assumes the privilege of questioning me? Further, if cash changes hands with no receipt, how is proof established? Can i pound on the door of a neighbor i do not like and grill him about exactly why someone stayed with him overnight and can i legally prove that someone actually did stay overnight? Who defines overnight? I had a girlfriend who lived in a condo. I alway left about 4am. I rode a motorcycle that was banned from overnight parking. They were smart enough never to call a tow truck. If they had i would have sued them into the dirt. People almost never think of the consequences of writing rules or laws.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't necessarily agree with this law, but your criticisms are pretty off base...

      First, Airbnb keeps records of everything, and those records can be subpoenaed as legal proof. They will only know you're renting out your apartment because you've listed it on the site as a full unit. If you're actually there at the same time as the guests you rent out a room and have no issues under the new law. Nothing about the law prevents you from having guests while you're staying there, whether they are paying you or

    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @07:57PM (#53126957)

      This is such a stupid argument. If Im good enough I can literally kill someone without any proof. Should we make murder legal?

      Yeah, some shit is hard to prove, doesn't mean it should be legal if its genuinely hurting people and we decide it should not.

      The distinction between residential and commercial establishment has been a staple for a long time, and it has a lot of value (if only so your neighbors can exercise their right of quiet enjoyment of THEIR properties, which I'd argue, is vastly more important than your freedom to rent it out).

      Thats without even counting the insane amount of people who AirBNB condos after signing papers saying they wont (short term rentals are very frequently banned in condo associations). So fuck em.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @12:12AM (#53128227) Journal

        The distinction between residential and commercial establishment has been a staple for a long time, and it has a lot of value...

        ...for middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, but not for the inner-city neighborhoods that subsidize them [streetsblog.org]. That's right, single-use zoning is a form of reverse welfare that subsidizes the middle- and upper-classes at the expense of the poor [grist.org].

        Also, what's the value in prohibiting someone from building an apartment building next door to a factory? You'd think it would be good to bring jobs to a city without bringing traffic.

        In Japan by contrast, they do things a little smarter [blogspot.com] than the USA's clumsy approach to zoning. Instead of single-use zoning, they allow anything of a lesser nuisance than the area is zoned for. A grocery store is less of a nuisance than a factory, so they allow grocery stores in industrial zones. An apartment building is less of a nuisance than a grocery store, so they allow apartment buildings in commercial zones. And a single-family house is less of a nuisance than an apartment building, so single-family houses are allowed in multifamily residential zones, but not the reverse.

        If every neighborhood in a city had to become self-sufficient in city spending versus property tax revenue, you can be sure that people living in middle-class, single-family residential zones suddenly faced with massive property tax bills would do everything in their power to attract bed-and-breakfasts, corner stores, and the other tax-efficient amenities that existed in our neighborhoods until we legislated our freedoms away in the aftermath of WWII.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And has anyone bothered to actually confront how many issues this opens up? A girl stays with me for three weeks. Who gets to question me about why she is with me? Is she a relative, a friend, a sex partner or a health aid as I am an older man?

      I know RTFS is verboten, but if she's staying with you -- as in, you're still there while she's there -- then this law doesn't apply to you.

      Who exactly assumes the privilege of questioning me?

      The state. Don't like it? Repeal all Hotel taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes. (You know, the ones you're not paying but you're forcing other people to?)

      Further, if cash changes hands with no receipt, how is proof established?

      You seem to be confusing paper evidence with guilt. If you agree to kill someone in an oral contract, you're still guilty of conspiracy to commit murder despite the fact that you two didn't write it down.

      Can i pound on the door of a neighbor i do not like and grill him about exactly why someone stayed with him overnight

      Sure. And he c

    • Is she a relative, a friend, a sex partner or a health aid as I am an older man?

      In Alabama and Tennessee she's likely to be all of these at once.

    • Had you read the article you would know your example do not apply. This law has no effect on rentals where the owner is present. Your live in boyfriend is not affected because you are present.

      What the city is trying to stop is people buying up condo's and apartments, particularly rent controlled ones and then renting them out commercially like a hotel. They are basically gypsy hotels that aren't complying with any of the hotel regulations that exist to protect people and level the playing field.

      • Then you create a law like no more than three months rental a year, which will allow people to rent while wintering in Florida, but crush it as a year round investment.

    • by RonVNX ( 55322 )

      Yep. Come take a look around in NYC. Nobody's doing business. Nobody.

      • Yep. Come take a look around in NYC. Nobody's doing business. Nobody.

        If only we had some good capitalists.

    • People almost never think of the consequences of writing rules or laws.

      Of course they do. The mistake you are making is thinking that rules are designed to be strictly enforced.
      As an example, we have a rule about dogs on leashes here. Most people with sociable and trained dogs don't keep their dogs on a leash, and there is rarely issues or fines. But if someone comes along with a nuisance dog causing grief off a leash, the council now has a lever with which to punish the owner.
      Where this law will become useful is not preventing all people from short term rental, but curbs th

      • Or if someone has an irritated neighbor, or the police don't like them or...

        What you describe, apparently with glowing approval, isn't supposed to happen in a society of laws, not men. We aren't talking about the occasional cop letting something minor slide, but building in the discretion of officers to enforce the law. This is ripe for abuse. The law should be more specific.

    • Those are all great question. At the end of the day, in a condo, the rules are really specific about strangers on premises. Leases in FL state that if a guest of yours stays more than an agreed time ( 15 days on average ), you need to register them. And people will over time learn what you are up to if you are breaking the rules. ... as for your motorcycle incident, a smart property will outright ban them on premise, otherwise, it's a tow in the morning if the ban is placed in the entrance ( we do it consis

    • The idea that people should be free to conduct business seems to be foreign to NYC

      The idea that you should be free to do whatever you like regardless of the impact on others as long as it's for money is foreign to most of the world.

      And has anyone bothered to actually confront how many issues this opens up?

      Yes, and clearly you haven't because you don't seem to have any idea about it.

      A girl stays with me for three weeks. Who gets to question me about why she is with me? Is she a relative, a friend, a sex par

    • The idea that people should be free to conduct business seems to be foreign to NYC.

      Yeah what would NYC know about business anyway? It's not like it's the centre of global finance or anything. Maybe these 'tech' companies should set up their rogue business empires in libertarian cities that don't have any rules or regulations.

      People almost never think of the consequences of writing rules or laws.

      What consequences are there of a city kicking out some parasitic organisation like Airbnb? Other than said company having to go back to Silicon Valley with its tail between its legs, thinking up the next 'get rich quick' scheme.

    • The idea that people should be free to conduct business seems to be foreign to NYC

      That's foreign to every western city in the world. There are things like zoning laws that apply to residential buildings. You are not and never have been for the duration of your life been free to conduct business on whatever land you happen to own.

    • You're free to do what you want in your home, to the extent that it does not violate certain laws including zoning laws. You probably wouldn't want somebody running a restaurant out of the house or apartment next door to you because of the large impact that such a business could have on neighbors. Similarly, AirBnB rentals are frequently run as de facto hotels and can have a very large impact on neighbors, and the neighbors don't have anybody with a stake in the matter to complain to if the property owne

  • Easy Work-Around (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @07:57PM (#53126959)

    "Tenants who violate current state law and list their apartments for rentals of less than 30 days would face fines of $1,000 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second and $7,500 for a third."

    This will be easy to get around...people will just list the property for a 30- or 60-day rental and have a $20 "early move out" or "cancellation" fee. So the "renter" will book it for 30 days, leave after a week, and pay a small, affordable "penalty" since they didn't stay the full 30 days.

    And the owner will say, "I rented it for 60 days but they left after a week, what could I do?"

    (I'm not saying this is right, just that this is what they'll do to get around the restriction.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And the owner will say, "I rented it for 60 days but they left after a week, what could I do?"

      If it happens once, you'd be fine. If it happens on a weekly basis, let me tell you, lawyers nor are judges are that naive. Especially when there are AirBnB records of you doing exactly what you describe.

      • If it happens on a weekly basis, let me tell you, lawyers nor are judges are that naive.

        I'm not so sure. They'd have to prove that was your intent, and I don't see how they could do that. Some rentals DO end prematurely and in an area with high-turnover who's to say this isn't exactly what's happening?

        If they want to throttle the renting they should craft a law that specifies "no more than 30 days rental allowed in any 6-month period" or something like that.

        • You walk out of a store with something you didn't pay for once. You do it ten times a day.

          Are they the same thing? More to the point, do you think the police, store owners and courts will regard them as the same thing?

          • You walk out of a store with something you didn't pay for once. You do it ten times a day.

            Are they the same thing?

            Lol, with all due respect, that's a terrible analogy.

            Where, exactly, is the theft in renting the property? No one is "walking out" of anything without paying, and both parties (the owner and the renter) get exactly what they want. Now the city might get its panties in a bunch, but again they'd have to track all this and prove that the whole thing was intentional. I think that would be harder to do in a court of law than it seems.

            Joe Sixpack rents a place, but then he "has to cancel" and leave early *cough*.

            • Where, exactly, is the theft in renting the property?

              Technically, copyright infringement isn't theft. Offering TV at a negative price to cable Internet subscribers is tying or dumping, not extortion. And in the same way, owner-absent short-term sublets are evasion of hotel tax, not theft. But morally, tax evasion could be thought of as like a theft from the other residents of the state, who have made a decision through their elected representatives to tax a particular behavior.

              Joe Sixpack rents a place, but then he "has to cancel" and leave early *cough*. He pays the owner an "early-termination penalty", and then the owner would, of course, relist the room to be rented.

              Where is the crime, and how would anyone prove that anything illegal had occurred?

              The proof is that the property's owner failed to document good cause for early term

              • Technically, copyright infringement isn't theft.

                Where does copyright infringement enter into this? This is about proving intent, which any lawyer will tell you can be very, very difficult.

                They may catch some people doing this, but the majority will not be affected nor deterred by this poorly thought out law. As I keep saying, if they really want to throttle the renting of AirBnB places, they should craft a law that specifies something like "no more than 30 days rental allowed in any 6-month period". That would be much easier to track and enforce.

                • by tepples ( 727027 )

                  Where does copyright infringement enter into this?

                  Copyright infringement is an example of a crime-or-tort that's similar to theft but not the same as theft. I was using it to introduce tax evasion, another crime that's similar to theft but not the same as theft.

        • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

          prove that was your intent

          I think it'd be pretty easy to prove once Air BnB's records show that you had already rented the room in advance to another person for the second week, and to a third person on the third week and so on... it looks almost like you intended them to stay only a week, doesn't it?

          • I think it'd be pretty easy to prove once Air BnB's records show that you had already rented the room in advance

            But that's just it, you're not renting it in advance. You'd be relisting it as soon as the current renter vacated the property or upon notice that they were leaving. People will do this and it'll be a never-ending cat and mouse game that the authorities won't win due to manpower and time constraints. Sure, they may pick off a few of the obvious cases but it'll be like drug smuggling- they'll get 1% of the violators and the other 99% will slide by.

            Again, if they want to throttle AirBnB renting they should cr

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or you can stop electing Democrats who are anti-free speech, anti-liberty, anti-freedom, and basically anti- anything that doesn't have big government control.

      Or we can do it for you wholesale, if you like. Blood on the tree of liberty and all that.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They aren't anti any of those things. They're for reasonable regulation... a.k.a. the primary aim of government. What the hell man?

      • by jonwil ( 467024 )

        I gaurantee you that if big powerful hotel industry lobbyists are knocking on the door and waving big fat donation/bribe cheques in their face, the Republicans are just as likely as the Democrats to do what they want.

    • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @09:09PM (#53127345)

      Of course, that would make it difficult to keep the place rented full time. One guest would decide to stay the full 60 days. The next renter would pay the "cancellation fee" after a week -- and you now have no renters lined up because you couldn't put it on the market until the one-week guy gave you your $20 cancellation fee and left (because you had made a commitment to the full 60 day term).

      • and you now have no renters lined up because you couldn't put it on the market until the one-week guy gave you your $20 cancellation fee and left (because you had made a commitment to the full 60 day term).

        I don't think AirBnB locks you out of relisting it for the proposed rental time if a rental is taken and then ends prematurely, I think you just go in and mark it as available again. If I'm mistaken, let me know.

        Yeah, you may lose a few days here and there, but then again maybe not- it all depends on the demand. If it's available on short notice, so much the better for some people.

        • by uncqual ( 836337 )

          But, if you offer the property (and accept renters) for every week with a 60 day overlapping term, the first time someone accepted your offer and discovered they couldn't stay because the prior renter decided not to exercise their "early out" option and stayed for their full 60 days, they will (rightfully) excoriate you on Airbnb and when 2/3 of the people who were stiffed raise hell (in ratings, comments, and w/Airbnb), your gig is over.

          Maybe some Airbnb renters plan only two or three days ahead, but I'll

          • But, if you offer the property (and accept renters) for every week with a 60 day overlapping term, the first time someone accepted your offer and discovered they couldn't stay because the prior renter decided not to exercise their "early out" option and stayed for their full 60 days, they will (rightfully) excoriate you on Airbnb

            I may not have been clear in my explanation, so let me try again.

            If someone rents the property and it's supposed to be for a 60 day period, they can use that full 60 days if they want (after all, that was the agreement). They can also leave after a week if they want, and pay some minor "penalty" for leaving early.

            The owner won't offer the property as "available" again until the renter actually vacates the property, whether that's the full 60 days or after a single week. As soon as the property is available,

            • The owner won't offer the property as "available" again until the renter actually vacates the property, whether that's the full 60 days or after a single week. As soon as the property is available, the owner simply relists it again as open for booking. In short, no conflicting bookings would be made. It only becomes available for renting after it's been vacated.

              The sudden, "unplanned" availability may even work in the owner's favor in some cases,

              But in the majority of cases, accommodation is booked before travel. I'm certainly not going to book a transatlantic flight on a 747 and start looking for a room two days before I fly!

              AirBnB works because it's simple. If it's not simple, it doesn't work.

              • by tepples ( 727027 )

                In a scheme to evade hotel tax through early termination, the following happen in order:

                1. Previous tenant leaves early.
                2. Owner reports to Airbnb that the previous tenant has left early.
                3. While the property lies vacant, you book your accommodation.
                4. You book your travel.
                5. You stay and leave early.
                6. Owner reports to Airbnb that you have left early.
                7. While the property lies vacant, someone else books her accommodation...

                • Except that's utterly, utterly ridiculous. It makes no sense whatsoever as a business model and is unattractive to the majority of travellers. That is, assuming that they are even aware of that being how you're supposed to use the site, as you can't exactly publish this on the front page, or you're effectively admitting to being a short-term let service.

                  Besides (and here's the kicker) if you are signing up on a site to be a long-term landlord, you're going to have to register as a long-term landlord. You're

  • The government big enough to give you everything you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have.

    But, hey, at least, abortions are still legal — is not that comforting?..

    • by Anonymous Coward

      take away everything you have.

      Tell us more about how zoning restrictions AIMED AT PRESERVING PROPERTY VALUES is "taking away everything you have"

      Those fancy expensive New York apartments are fancy and expensive BECAUSE they outlaw transient dwellers, and the owners LIKE IT that way.

      DUH

    • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @10:20PM (#53127705) Homepage

      But, hey, at least, abortions are still legal — is not that comforting?..

      Sure, as long as you have a note from your husband, have attended a local church's "Don't do it!!" seminar, you've lasted through the mandatory 48 hour waiting period just to be really really sure you're certain you want one and then you've driven outside the state to find an actual clinic....

      Conservatives, strict on property rights and still trying to consider women as property.

    • The government big enough to give you everything you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have.

      That's one of the dumbest libertarian memes. A government which doesn't give you anything can also take away everything you have. You have to hand it to the Reaganites though, they're three decades of propaganda has been so effective it's got ordinary people spouting support for the mega-rich who wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        That's one of the dumbest libertarian memes.

        Truth hurts, huh?

        A government which doesn't give you anything can also take away everything you have.

        It could happen, yes. But the government, that's not expected to take care of all the citizenry's needs, does not need to become so powerful and omnipresent as to be able to take it all away.

        So, there you go — a government limited in its responsibilities can remain limited in its power over the governed. The government expected to provide for all — can

  • NY is the largest NAZI state when it comes to personal property... What I do with my private property is between me and who I rent to! I will not stop using AirBnB! People of NY need to wake up and realize this kinda law invades and needs to be overturned!
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      even landlords can't do whatever they want with their properties. I dunno why you think its that simple.

      Real estate have community value far beyond just their material one. We treat them specially in a lot of ways...you have neighbors who have right too, people have rights to homes, tenants have rights. This isn't the bullshit taxi cartel we're talking about here. This shit can make or break people's lives.

  • Rent controls cause this situation.

    When landlords can not raise rents to match economic conditions, they are forced to find new revenue streams.

    LK

    • by RonVNX ( 55322 )

      Your understanding of rent controls in NYC doesn't have much to do with reality. Few laugh as hard and as long as a rent-regulated landlord in NYC depositing rent checks at the bank. Guaranteed annual increases, tax breaks.... why do you think in a city controlled by landlords they've never made an effort to get rid of it?

  • The state has banned its cities from banning AirBnB. This move is generally popular but has been controversial in some towns because of the possibility that, as is feared in NYC, that short-term rentals would cut into the supply of "affordable" housing. In AZ, we're not concerned about low-income housing - in fact we hate it when the feds ram Section 8 developments down our throats - but we do want rentals that our baristas and tour guides can afford.

    My thought: if the AirBnB model works as an incentive for

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