Features, Finance, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Airbnb Expands but Reduces Affordable Housing

February 26, 2019

By Stephanie West

The New York Times published a stunning exposé covering an illegal Airbnb real estate scheme in New York City.

According to the TIMES article, illegal hotels operated under fake host accounts. The apartments bypassed city regulations avoiding lodging taxes and oversight. More than $20 million in revenue was unlawfully rented These included 130 Manhattan apartments to almost 76,000 guests through Airbnb.

New York City is Airbnb’s largest market. As bad actors continue to buy up swaths of properties in the Big Apple, they contribute to the affordable housing crisis.  When long-term housing goes off the market for use by short term renters it creates a shortage in affordable housing. More than 100 Airbnb host accounts and 18 corporations were created to run an illegal hotel business that stretched north from TriBeCa to SoHo, Gramercy, the Upper East Side and Harlem, according to a lawsuit.

Airbnb has drawn opposition from the hotel industry. Recently, a federal judge blocked  the implementation of a city law that would have required home-sharing services to disclose information about its listings, and the identities and addresses of hosts. However,  New York City has issued a subpoena for information on 20,000 home-sharing listings in the city. The mayor continues to be concerned that Airbnb listings diminish the supply of apartments available to full-time renters, particularly poor New Yorkers.

February 26, 2019

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