New York City is pressing ahead with a long-anticipated crackdown on Airbnb hosts, with officials on Friday proposing a strict new registration system for hosts that will take effect in January.
Under proposed rules that were quietly and unexpectedly made public on Friday — which will, among other things, prohibit hosts from renting out an “entire registered dwelling unit” — Airbnb hosts will be required to submit diagrams of their apartments as well as proof that their listings are permanent residences.
Hosts also will be required to list the “full legal name of all permanent occupants of the dwelling” as well as their relationship to the host. They also will have to provide their leases if they are renting and to certify that they understand all the zoning requirements, building code regulations and other issues associated with “multiple dwelling law,” according to the 30-page document.
If hosts fail to comply, they can be fined up to $5,000 under the new rules, while Airbnb and other platforms are required to verify the rental on its systems and could be on the hook for a $1,500 fine per violation.
Last year, the city council passed the registration law, but little was known about the details and requirements, which will become effective Jan. 9 and enforced by May 9. City officials will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules Dec. 5.
While a handful of other cities, including Boston and Santa Monica, Calif. have similar registration requirements, the New York rules are far more restrictive — and could put a major crimp into how hosts currently rent out their apartments, according to sources familiar with the rules.
Among the requirements, said the source, is one that bars hosts from putting locks on doors that separate the guest from the host, directing that “a registered host shall not allow a rentee to have exclusive access to a separate room within a dwelling” and specifying that, for example, “providing the rentee with a key to lock the door when such rentee is not in the dwelling is prohibited.”
“It feels like there are a lot of traps,” said a source with direct knowledge of the regulations.
It’s the latest salvo in the fraught relationship between New York City and Airbnb, which has long pushed back on the city’s efforts to regulate the industry. Meanwhile the city blames Airbnb, in part, for its housing shortage.
City officials claim the registration is necessary, because there are too many safety issues and rogue hosts and landlords who are violating existing rules, including a requirement that bans rentals for less than 30 days when the host is not present.
“These rules clarify short-term rental laws and lay out a straightforward process for hosts to obtain a registration for their legal rentals, as required by Local Law 18 of 2022,” said Christian Klossner, executive director at the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, in a statement. “OSE looks forward to hearing from the public during the comment period.”
OSE, which is charged with regulating the home sharing industry, will be responsible for enforcing the rules and vetting the registration process, which also includes alerting landlords and building owners about registrations. OSE will also alert landlords and building owners on how they can apply to get on a list of buildings that prohibit short term rentals.
Airbnb said it is reviewing the regulations but described them as “draconian.”
“The bill passed by the DeBlasio administration, as interpreted by the Office of Special Enforcement, will create a draconian and unworkable registration system that will prevent lawful and responsible hosts from listing their homes at a time when New York families are navigating the rising cost of living,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement.
“We will continue to engage in conversations with the current administration to support an effective and transparent regulatory framework that helps responsible hosts and targets illegal hotel operators.”
New York City hotels and the union that represents hotel workers, the Hotel Trades Council, have long advocated for stricter home sharing rules as Airbnb cut into their market share here. They argue that Airbnb is not held to the same safety standards as their buildings among other gripes.
“We are fully supportive of the City’s Local Law 18 which will require registration of short term rentals,” Vijay Dandapani, President, Hotel Association of New York City said in a statement.