NYC cracks down on sublets and ‘no-tels’
comment 2 Written by on July 23, 2010 – 11:53 pm

NYCbuildings.jpg

If you like the idea of renting an apartment during a short break in New York, you could be facing some problems if new legislation is pushed through. The controversial proposal could make it illegal to rent an apartment in the city for any period under 30 days.

The “subletting” bill – which has been passed by senators and is currently awaiting final approval from the state governor – has been designed to crack down on illegal hotels that cause problems for permanent residents by depleting the local housing pool and creating noise and security issues. However, it is feared the ban will affect growing online networks, such as AirBnB, Craigslist, Crashpadder and Homeaway, which allow travellers to find short-term accommodation in privately owned properties.

This is an extract from a piece I wrote on the New York ‘no-tel’ crackdown that was published today on Guardian.co.uk.

The proposed new law is complicated and the surrounding issues even more so. I spent yesterday poring over the wording of the bill itself, consulting lawyers and talking to the owners whose websites likely to be affected. (Of course, I was still accused by a typical troll of ‘lazy journalism’ but that is par for the course.)

Personally, I can definitely see some benefit in cracking down on dodgy operators, but this plan seems very poorly thought out.

When I spoke to Joe Gebbia of AirBnB, he made another very interesting point: if you can only rent for over 30 days, what happens in February?

Splitting hairs? Maybe. But there are so many things here that are impractical. They can’t possibly enforce it as it stands.

Laywer Michael T Sillerman also added: “Zoning and building codes used to try and have black and white rules: a hotel is for short-term use, an apartment is for long-term use. Soho used to be a manufacturing area but now everyone wants to live, shop and eat in Soho. We are in an era of mixed use. Past models have been exploding.” Black and white doesn’t work anymore. And as overlooking B&Bs, all sites like AirBnB and general trends of how people live their lives these days, well, that is one huge bit of grey that they seek to erase.

I don’t think the authorities are really out to get these people, but why create a law that makes criminals out of decent, responsible citizens and tourists?

Surely the governor can’t pass it without going back to the drawing board? That’s what I’d like to think anyway. Let’s wait and see. There may well be some developments over the weekend

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Echiner1

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2 Responses to “NYC cracks down on sublets and ‘no-tels’”

  1. I agree with this. The intention of the law might have been good, but it’s ultimately removing competition and choice for consumers. There are so many great vacation rental sites out there, such as MetroFlats.com. It’s a shame that they will be unable to have listings in NYC.

    By Tom on Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

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