October 21, 2014
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – A report issued by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found widespread illegality across New York City listings on the Airbnb website, with data indicating that as much as 72% of Airbnb reservations over the last several years violated New York law.
The report, “Airbnb In The City,” also found commercial enterprises using Airbnb to operate multimillion-dollar businesses; in one instance, a single commercial user made $6.8 million in less than five years. The report is based on data obtained by the Attorney General’s Office as a result of a May 2014 subpoena for information about potential illegal hotels using Airbnb’s site.
Attorney General Schneiderman also announced the formation of a joint enforcement initiative with the City of New York to investigate and shut down illegal hotels in the five boroughs. Together, the Attorney General’s Internet and Taxpayer Protection Bureaus and the City’s Departments of Finance and Buildings along with the Office of Special Enforcement will investigate violations of building and safety codes, tax regulations and the executive law.
“This report raises serious concerns about the proliferation of illegal hotels and the impact of Airbnb and sites like it on the City of New York,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We must ensure that, as online marketplaces revolutionize the way we live, laws designed to promote safety and quality-of-life are not forsaken under the pretext of innovation. The joint city and state enforcement initiative is aimed at aggressively tackling this growing problem, protecting the safety of tourists and safeguarding the quality-of-life of neighborhood residents.”