housing in NYC

Renting Revolution: Navigating the New Rules of Accommodation in the USA

New rules come into force for renting your accommodation

The number of New York houses and apartments available for short-term rental should soon be reduced to nothing. New York City has implemented the Short Term Rental Registration Law, which requires hosts to register their accommodation with the city’s mayor’s office, the Office of Special Enforcement ( OSE).

Short stay rental

Local Law 18 actually dates back to January 2022 and consists of prohibiting short-term rentals of entire homes. It will now be strictly applied, through this registration process which requires details of the apartment, identity and number of occupants. It is illegal to rent an entire apartment or house for less than 30 days, even if you own or live in the building. This applies to all permanent residential buildings.

As a New York host, you will therefore have two options: either you must be present in the accommodation during the travelers’ stay of less than 30 days, and you will only be able to rent to a maximum of two people. Either you can rent your entire accommodation for a period of more than 30 days.

Which amounts to a de facto ban on short-term rentals, according to the accommodation rental platform Airbnb. It provides for penalties for illegal guest rentals, which could go up to $5,000 or three times the revenue generated by the rental. Hotels, guesthouses and guesthouses that have class B status can apply for an exemption.

You are not welcome

This implementation is the culmination of a several-year standoff between Airbnb and the city of New York, which says it wants to fight the shortage of affordable housing in New York. Airbnb had filed a complaint and obtained a grace period with the postponement of its implementation, but a judge of the Supreme Court of New York finally dismissed it.

This is a hard blow for all platforms in this sector (Expedia, VRBO etc.), but Airbnb is by far the most active in the city. New York’s new short-term rental rules are a major blow to the tourism economy and the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in the suburbs who rely on home sharing and tourism dollars to make ends meet.

The city sends a clear message to the millions of potential visitors who will now have fewer options when they visit New York City: you are not welcome.

Few recordings by the city

Concretely, the platforms will not be able to receive and transfer money from rentals for the benefit of hosts who are not registered from September 5. The losses in sight are significant: Airbnb, which generates $85 million per year from short-term rentals in New York, estimates that it will lose 95% of this income after the entry into force of these obligations.

They argue that New York is an anomaly compared to other American cities, which have regulated short-term rentals but allow rentals of entire homes. And that Airbnb accommodations are more dispersed across the city’s five boroughs – less than 50% of listings are located in Manhattan – and help to liven up neighborhoods that are poorly equipped with hotels.

For the moment, it’s a wasted effort. And even for those who are authorized to operate, they have to wait for the sesame from the OSE office in New York City, which has been very late in approving housing that meets the criteria. As of August 27, the city had received 3,250 registration requests and had only approved 257.

New York hosts at an impasse

In view of real estate prices and rents in New York, but also the galloping inflation of recent months, this new regulation is very bad news for New Yorkers who used it to pay their credit or their rent and make ends meet.

One landlord used Airbnb to rent my apartment when he was traveling for work or going on vacation. This represented a significant income for him, and he was not participating in a speculative bubble in New York.

Some residents, who actively rented their house in Harlem a few years ago, have followed the subject closely and are active within the organization RHOAR (Restore Homeowner Autonomy and Rights), a group of home owners for one or two families, who are trying to obtain an exemption from this law.

They are house owners and don’t bother anyone. Long-term rentals are too risky, they know a lot of owners who are not paid and the tenants are very protected in NYC. Last glimmer of hope, the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, will meet representatives of RHOAR. They are asking for a new deadline for these new rules to come into force in January 2024.

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