How current events impact your business and real estate holdings

Friday, May 24, 2013

Listen NYC Residents - Airbnb is Dangerous: Be warned

On November 8, 2012, we wrote a blog called Airbnb is Brilliant - NYC Housing. Therein, we said that "[a]   major barrier to their success are local laws that prohibit short term rentals in many municipalities across the Country". We also referenced NYC's rental law and said that maybe Airbnb's helping with housing in the wake of the hurricane would generate enough good will to overturn the City's minimum rental law.

It didn't.

On 5/9/13, a NYC resident was found liable for a $2,400 Civil Penalty for violating AC 28-118.3.2 as a result of renting his condominium unit (actually the rental at issue was offered by the tenant of the unit, but that is irrelevant for this discussion) to two Russian women from the 9th to the 14th of September in 2012.

NYC's minimum rental period law is designed to prevent transient guests, which is a topic that have discussed previously on quite a few occasions such as in February of 2010 and May of 2012. The thrust of the topic is that there are safety issues in permitting unregulated hotels to exist for consumers and that there are further issues for other unit owners in allowing unscreened strangers to have access in and out of their condominium and cooperative buildings. There are also many arguments that transient guests in neighborhoods greatly reduce property values.

Its important to note that the decision distinguished the violated act from simply having "house guests or lawful boarders, roomers or lodgers" who stay for less than 30 days. The decision sets forth that house guests cannot be strangers who pay for occupancy and with respect to the other terms it looks to the definition of a common household in the Code as "A common household is deemed to exist if every member of the family has access to all parts of the dwelling unit. Lack of access to all parts of the dwelling unit establishes a rebuttable presumption that no common household exists".

So, NYC residents stop using Airbnb, it advertises your illegal rentals and gives the government great evidence if they wish to prosecute. To read the decision for yourselves, click here.