Hot on the heels of the New York State Attorney General’s report on the illegal nature of most AirBnB short term rentals (and the landlords that are opting to operate their buildings as short-term apartment rentals rather than leasing places to, oh, New Yorkers who actually live here) the de Blasio administration has issued its first shot in what may become a long legal battle between the city and AirBnB.
Though there have been increasing rumblings about sites like AirBnB, the de Blasio administration hasn’t cracked down on them. But this week, the city filed, and was granted, a preliminary injunction against the owners of two Manhattan buildings where landlords had been renting out the units by the night on AirBnB and similar websites, rather than renting out the apartments for the legally-mandated thirty consecutive days, the New York Daily News reports.
The buildings, at 59 Fifth Avenue and 5 W. 31st Street, were essentially being used as short-term hotels, a practice that the Attorney General’s study determined was depleting housing stock for permanent residents of the city. According to that study, some 4,6000 units were hosting short-term AirBnB rentals exclusively for more than three months of the year. Plus there’s the matter of losing out on the funds from a hotel tax, an issue that the city’s Hotel Trade Council has pushed.
Is this the beginning of a de Blasio stand against AirBnB? It’s too soon to tell, but this move is enough to put landlords on notice.