Hopefull deal with Airbnb will preserve affordable housing
by Emily Gallagher
Jun 17, 2020 | 2536 views | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emily Gallagher is a neighborhood activist and organizer in Greenpoint.
Emily Gallagher is a neighborhood activist and organizer in Greenpoint.
After years of fighting, it seems that Airbnb has settled with New York City regarding what kind of listings are allowed.

According to Bloomberg news, Airbnb will now share information about the address, host, listing, phone number and email of each person renting apartments in the city. The government will collect this information on a quarterly basis, although they had asked for monthly intel.

The company will share the information on individuals who rent out their home for more than five or more nights a quarter.

The only ways individuals are allowed to sublease apartments in New York City are if they are a private one or two-family home, an apartment being entirely let for 30 days or more, or an apartment renting a room with another tenant present.

Currently, it's estimated that around 35,000 listings are not following these rules.

This is an important settlement for New York City tenants. Data projects like InsideAirbnb found that the home-sharing platform was being largely exploited by landlords who discovered it was far more lucrative to rent out their apartments to short-term tenants who were travelers than to long-term tenants on a budget.

This is greatly impacting our rent-stabilized housing stock, taking apartments off the market to rent as illegal hotels. A neighborhood that suffered greatly from this exploitation was North Brooklyn.

Our community and the Lower East Side/East Village had the largest number of apartments shifted away from affordable long-term housing toward transient lodging. Hopefully this kind of exposure will help the Department of Buildings and Housing Preservation and Development gain traction on preserving our rent-stabilized units.

For Airbnb to share data and be transparent with city government is the first step, but what about enforcement now that the rules are clarified? Without enforcement, rules matter very little.

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