New York City cracks down on Airbnb, other short-term rentals

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New York, Sept 7 (AFP/APP):If you’ve been trying to book an apartment for a short vacation in New York in recent weeks, you may have been surprised at how little is available on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. A city law went into effect this week that bans rentals for less than 30 days, leaving a good part of the 36,000 short-term tourist apartments in the city out of the rental game. “I think New York’s making a big mistake and shooting themselves in the foot by keeping younger people out of the city,” said Joe McCambley, 66, a former regular client of Airbnb. The new law only allows room rentals when the landlord lives in the apartment and is present during the entire stay. The visitors may number no more than two at a time, and they may not lock their room doors. Hosts must register with the mayor’s office and pay $145 every two years. But permits are granted sparingly. Of the more than 3,800 applications registered so far, fewer than 300 have been approved. Fines for violators range from $1,000 to $7,500, although guests will not be affected. Property owners and platforms such as Airbnb complain bitterly about the law, but a fair number of city residents say they favor bringing short-term rentals back into the long-term market to ease a housing crunch. “I think it’s probably necessary,” Marianne LeNabat, a 44-year-old city resident, told AFP. “Housing is totally unaffordable in New York, and I don’t think a solution is ever just introducing more housing stock, but certainly taking tons and tons of units off the market is a problem.” The mayor’s office wants to put an end to what it calls an illegal practice, which generates “noise, litter, and personal safety” issues for permanent residents. “Many permanent residential buildings do not have adequate security personnel to deal with travelers,” says the Office of Special Enforcement, charged with enforcing the ordinance passed in January 2022, after years of attempts to regulate the market.