Airbnb Deemed Illegal

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New York, in its infinite wisdom and need for you to spend your time at ESPN Zone, potentially be the victim of a terrorist attack, and visit Times Square with no chance of finding a prostitute (or peep show for that matter), has decided that the room/apartment rental website that facilitates the letting of extra space is illegal. By New York, in this case, I mean Administrative Law Judge Clive Morrick. In the honorable Judge Morrick’s defense, he did lower the fines levied against Nigel Warren, who rented out his apartment to a woman for a three-day stay in September.

Airbnb Deemed Illegal

While the law was originally put in place as a means to stop landlords from running illegal hotels from their property, New York courts seem to be continuing their streak of over-legislating its citizens to the point of throwing away tourism revenue. The law that was held up today was by no means intended to keep someone from renting their couch in one of the other four Burroughs that make up New York City in its entirety.

Airbnb Released A Statement

Airbnb clearly agrees and released this statement today….

“This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed and we are considering all appeal options as we move forward. Put simply, this decision is wrong on the law, and bad for New York.  The laws in New York and around the world are confusing and often contradictory, but we intervened in this case because this was the one area of the law that seemed most clear. This decision demonstrates how difficult is for hosts and even companies like ours to adequately understand laws that were not meant to apply to regular people hosting to make ends meet.

“And more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes.  There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials.  It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.”

While its nice to stay in the outer reaches of Queens on occasion for $35 a night, New York is going to get you either way when they make you pay $30 for your subway trips for the day. Never mind if you want a large soda or a pack of smokes.

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