Locking Down AirBNB

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A lockbox, a useful tool to assist with check-ins or –outs when the primary tenant isn’t around

Have you suspected there is an Airbnb in your building or down the block? A major clue is if you spy a lockbox. Other than that there has been no clearer way to determine if your neighbors’ guests are purely freeloading friends/family or

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Inside view of a lockbox

strangers that are a stream of extra revenue.

Airbnb locating got clearer on July 18th when the NYC Council passed Int 981 unanimously with the 45 members present. Council Members Levin and Reynoso were among the co-sponsors of the bill introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera.

The description of the legislation states, “This bill would require online short-term (less than 30 days) rental platforms that provide booking services for a fee to provide information about those transactions to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) including: the address of the short term rental; the name and address of the rental host; the url of the short term rental listing; whether the short term rental was for the entire unit or part of it; the number of days the unit is rented; the fees collected by the online platform for booking services; and information about rent collected by the booking service, where applicable. Failure to provide this information would result in a fine that is the greater of either $1,500 per listing for each reporting period in which the required information is not provided completely or accurately, or the total amount of the fees collected during the preceding year for transactions related to such listing, whichever is greater.” Airbnb and like businesses will be required submit this information each month.

The bill was introduced to the NYC Council on June 7th by Council Member Rivera, who before she was elected to the council, worked as a housing organizer on the Lower East Side where she was born and raised. Rivera stated at the hearing of this bill, “I heard countless stories from tenants and organizers about illegal short-term rentals jolting them out of the security and stability of an affordable home. This bill will allow for more effective prosecution of bad actors who are pushing out rent regulated tenants in order to run illegal hotels, and who are keeping housing we so desperately need off the market.”

The bill basically helps with the enforcement of an already existing law. Airbnb sued New York City and State in 2016 over the law that passed that restricted short-term sublets. The company is probably working on a counterpunch for this additional legislation. They have made accusations that the council members supporting the bill have been supported by the hotel industry, but that plays like sour grapes to most ears.

The bill’s status is: Enacted (Mayor’s Desk for Signature).

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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