Thursday, November 8, 2012

Airbnb is Brilliant - NYC Housing

What a brilliant company Airbnb is. A major barrier to their success are local laws that prohibit short term rentals in many municipalities across the Country. They want the biggest markets, like NYC, but NYC prohibits rentals for less than 30 consecutive days based upon the State's Multiple Dwelling Law at section 4.

What a brilliant company Airbnb is. They see NYC's plight in the face of the destruction from Hurricane Sandy and they pounce. Not in a bad way, but instead as a savior of sorts. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced a partnership with Airbnb to help victims of the hurricane get necessary housing. Click here to read the article. You see, when two (2) political issues are face-to-face at odds, the public will choose the lesser of the two (2) evils. On the one hand, short-term rental housing has been associated with damaging the neighborhood environment, impairing the physical characteristics of a neighborhood and most importantly, creating safety hazards through unregulated units with transient guests. On the other hand, we have people without power, in flooded apartments that need a warm place to stay with the electricity turned on (yes Revolution, the power should be turned on). You guessed it, heat and power wins.

Yes, the partnership is not a home run for Airbnb; they have not repealed the short term rental statute that stands as their barrier to domination. This statute makes their customers' rentals of weekend apartments often illegal. Instead, they have capitalized on an opportunity to gain good will and brand awareness in their continual cause to have the law repealed. Great job Airbnb, you are brilliant.