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New York City cracks down on illegal short-term rentals in raid


New York City Statue of Liberty

New York City issued 27 violations for illegal short-term rentals last month in the city’s biggest raid yet against individual apartment owners. The city cited 20 residents of Midtown luxury tower the Atelier — including two members of the building’s condo board — for illegal hotel use.

Residents recently filed a notice with the condo board to stop short-term rentals in the building, which are illegal according to the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. The law does not allow rentals of fewer than 30 days in most multiple-unit buildings in New York State unless a permanent resident is present during the rental period.

Residents have been documenting the presence of short-term rentals in the building and turned a list of 100 apartments suspected of running illegal short-term rentals over to the city.

"Cases like this one are rare and not representative of our host community — the vast majority of whom are sharing the home in which they live — but they do reinforce the need for a comprehensive, statewide bill that would provide for strict recourse against bad actors and protect the rights of regular New Yorkers who are responsibly sharing their homes. Airbnb supports legislation in Albany that would create a common sense, comprehensive path forward, and we invite the Office of Special Enforcement to do the same," a spokesperson from Airbnb said in a statement.

Cracking down on illegal short-term rentals should be easier for the New York City when a new law goes into effect in February. The law requires Airbnb and other online rental platforms such as HomeAway and VRBO to provide data on hosts to the city’s Office of Special Enforcement every month. This includes identifying information on hosts and data on the number of days the property was rented and fees paid. Failure to comply with the law could result in fines of $1,500 per listing for online platforms.

Short-term rental sites Airbnb and HomeAway sued New York City after the law was passed, claiming the requirement to release host data to the city violates privacy.

The new ordinance could also make it easier for the city to find out whether short-term rental hosts are living up to their lodging tax obligations. Short-term rentals in New York City are subject to a New York City Hotel Room Occupancy Tax, which is collected by the city, while New York State collects state sales tax, city sales tax, and a Hotel Unit Fee of $1.50 per day on short-term rentals.

While Airbnb collects lodging taxes from guests on behalf of its short-term rental hosts in several counties in New York State, it does not collect for hosts in New York City, and neither do other online rental platforms. MyLodgeTax can help New York City short-term rental hosts take care of all their lodging tax obligations.

New York is not the only city cracking down on illegal short-term rentals. San Francisco recently fined a couple $2.25 million for running a chain of illegal short-term rentals.


Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky specializes in writing about tax and legal topics. She relishes the challenge of translating legalese into information that is accurate, useful, and easy to understand.