Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb and a Tenant Blocked From Listing an Apartment in a Banned NYC Building

4 months ago

The implementation of New York City’s host registration law last month has enabled one landlord to win a temporary restraining order against both Airbnb and a host from listing a short-term rental in an Upper West Side apartment building that put itself on the Office of Special Enforcement’s banned building list.

An NYC home that was listed on Airbnb years ago. Source: Flickr.com/Pietro and Sylvia https://tinyurl.com/mur8ukak

The Rosenberg & Estis law firm, which represents property manager Canvas Property Group for the building owner, characterized the temporary restraining order it obtained last month as “a precedent-setting victory.”

The two sides are slated to face off over making the temporary restraining order permanent in a New York state court in late October. The plaintiff sued Airbnb and the host, who the law firm stated never lived in the 3-bedroom Columbus Avenue apartment, for damages.

The Real Deal first reported the existence of the lawsuit, adding that a second landlord filed suit, as well.

As of late August, more than 10,000 buildings had applied to the city to be put on a list of buildings where tenants would be barred from offering their apartments as short-term rentals, and major platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Vrbo would be prohibited from displaying them.

Although Airbnb and the city have been at loggerheads for years over New York’s regulations, which ban the bulk of properties that were formerly listed, Airbnb and the city are believed to be now working together on the implementation of the registration law. Airbnb counts on the city’s verification system to flag illegal listings, including those from hosts in buildings where they are barred.

Airbnb had no comment on the lawsuits on Saturday.

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb Squatter Squabble in California Hits Home in NYC Short-Term Rental Crackdown

4 months ago

There have been plenty of headlines in the past few days about a lawsuit against an Airbnb guest in Brentwood, California, who has allegedly overstayed her reservation, which ended on March 19, 2022 —without paying rent for more than a year-and-a half.

A vacation rental that was listed on Vrbo. We show this for illustrative purpose, and not for any connection to the squatter issue. Source: Vrbo

The property owner filed a lawsuit in June, seeking to evict the squatter, who has supposedly performed a somewhat similar caper previously, according to published reports.

Squatter Issue Resonates in NYC

Regardless of the details of this particular case, the issue of squatters and laws in many localities that are designed to protect tenants from abusive landlords, hit home in New York City in light of the new host registration law that became effective September 5.

The New York City host registration law seeks to enforce short-term rental regulations that have existed in the Big Apple for years, but often went unheeded. Among them, owners of one- and two-family homes that are owner-occupied don’t need to register as hosts of their vacation rentals, but the minimum stay would need to be at least 30 days.

That’s exactly when squatter laws come into play. New York State law states that people who live in a property for 30 days become legal tenants, and after that time period it can become a protracted battle to evict guests — even if they are paying nothing for the stay.

This issue is a concern for New York City homeowners, many of whom live in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, who are seeking to rent out their properties for short- and long-term rentals to help pay mortgages and for extra income.

“Many of our RHOAR (Restore Homeowners Autonomy & Rights) members are concerned about the risk of bringing on a tenant that ultimately doesn’t pay their rent and uses NYC’s laws to delay eviction, which has been a financially ruinous experience for many of RHOAR’s members,” spokesperson Lisa Grossman told Skift a few days before the New York City host registration law became effective.

As of a few days ago, RHOAR has conducted meetings with 15 of 52 New York City council members, looking for an amendment “to allow owner-occupied one- or two-family homes the ability to do short-term rentals,” Grossman said.

In other words, these would be rentals for a night, a weekend, a week — anything fewer than 30 nights.

Dan Driscoll, co-founder and chief operating officer of luxury vacation rental business boutiq, based in Austin, acknowledged that squatters might be a problem in some urban markets, but doesn’t see it as a major problem for the vacation rental sector.

“I am not a lawyer and not qualified to give legal advice, but from my vantage point, I think the horror stories are out there, but I think these are wild outliers and fairly isolated to urban markets with unique tenant laws,” Driscoll said.

Short-Term Rentals

Ask Skift: Airbnb and New York City Timeline

8 months ago

Ask Skift is our artificial intelligence chatbot that offers a new way for readers to better engage with our breadth of knowledge and our latest experimentation creating products travel professionals rely on. It digs into news stories, Skift Research reports, Airline Weekly issues, Skift Live events, the Daily Lodging Report, and more to answer many questions about the travel industry.

Here we asked it to provide a timeline that gives us better perspective on Airbnb’s relationship with one of its larger markets, New York City.

Can you provide a 10-year timeline covering Airbnb news in New York City?
Here is a timeline of Airbnb news in New York City over the past 10 years:

1. 2013: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenas Airbnb user records for hosts and guests in New York City (October 2013).

2. 2014: Skift and Connotate’s research shows that at least two-thirds of all Airbnb hosts in New York City were likely breaking the state’s short-term rental law (February 2014). In May 2014, a judge rules that the New York Airbnb subpoena is too broad, and the Attorney General will narrow the request.

3. 2015: New York City Council holds an eight-hour hearing to discuss the state of short-term rentals in the city, where Airbnb advocates for a change in the law that makes it illegal to rent an entire apartment for fewer than 30 days a month (January 2015). In November 2015, New York City plans to spend $10 million to regulate Airbnb and illegal hotels.

4. 2016: New York amends its state law to ban the advertising of short-term rentals (October 2016). Airbnb files a lawsuit against both the state and the city of New York, challenging the applicability of the 2016 amendment. In November and December 2016, Airbnb settles the lawsuit against the state and the city, with each agreeing not to enforce the amended law against the company.

5. 2018: New York City enacts a new law requiring home-sharing platforms to disclose detailed data on hosts and listings to the city on a monthly basis (July 2018). In August 2018, Airbnb files a lawsuit against the city, challenging the new data disclosure law on constitutional and statutory grounds.

6. 2019: In January 2019, a federal judge enters a preliminary injunction barring the new data disclosure law from going into effect. In February 2020, the parties request that the court stay the action so that they can explore settlement.

7. 2020: In June 2020, Airbnb settles its lawsuit with New York City, leading to the amendment of the city ordinance to reduce the number of listings subject to data sharing and to provide for the confidentiality of data.

8. 2021: The revised ordinance, which requires home-sharing platforms to disclose detailed data on hosts and listings to the city on a monthly basis, goes into effect in January 2021.

9. 2023: New York City expands its short-term rental ban by 2,300 more buildings and is in the process of clamping down on illegal short-term rentals, with fines against both hosts and platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com for non-compliance set to begin in July (March 2023).

Tags: airbnb, nyc