Airbnb users face some legal tangles

Credit: Airbnb.
Credit: Airbnb.

If you have listed your apartment on Airbnb, you might want to review the state’s “multiple dwellings” law: it turns out a good number of listings are illegal in New York.

According to a report in Crain’s, about 30,000 New Yorkers are signed up as hosts. Last year, those New Yorkers hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors. An average stay was around six nights.

Crain’s noted that the majority of listings are outside of the hotel-packed commercial area between 14th and 59th street, which allows tourism dollars to be spent in neighborhoods that don’t typical see that revenue.

But a state law enacted in 2011 is prompting some trouble. The law was meant to prevent developers from buying up buildings zoned as residential, and then running them as hotels, without adhering to the regulations that apply to buildings zoned as hotels. But now it seems it could be getting in the way of short-term sublets by tenants, like those booked on Airbnb.

Lobbyists are now working in Albany on behalf of Airbnb to change that law to make it more amenable to New Yorkers using Airbnb.

Airbnb and its proponents argue  that the law even as it stands now doesn’t necessarily apply to people who are sharing their homes, as opposed to renting out their entire apartment while they’re not there.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said that “87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list a home they live in.”

“They are average New Yorkers trying to pay their monthly bills and we are working with leaders in New York towards a more consistent, fair, and progressive set of laws that will allow the community of travelers and hosts who rely on Airbnb to continue to flourish.”

The repercussions of the multiple dwellings law are all too real for one East Village resident. Nigel Warren is currently fighting fines from the Department of Buildings because of he rented out his apartment for three nights using Airbnb, according to a report from WNYC.

WNYC reported that Warren is worried the fines could total $30,000, but fines listed by a judge last week added up to $7,000.

The Department of Buildings would not provide comment on the lawsuit with Nigel Warren, nor explain why Warren was singled out among all Airbnb users.

The Warren case, however, is not specifically connected to Airbnb. It stems from a complaint the city reportedly received about Warren’s apartment, that prompted an investigation and subsequent violation notice by the Department of Buildings.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.