New York Democrats propose new bill cracking down on Airbnb, other home-sharing sites

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New York state Democratic legislators announced a new bill Tuesday that would regulate home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway.

The proposed legislation would restrict New Yorkers from listing more than one property on home sharing sites. Affordable housing and rent-stabilized units would be prohibited from being rented out on a short-term basis, and all short-term rental properties would be required to be registered with the state.


The new measure would replace current legislation that subjects some New York City residents to fines for renting out their apartments on a short-term basis. Under current New York state legal code, it is against the law in most buildings for an apartment to be rented out for less than 30 days unless the permanent tenant is living in the apartment at the same time, The New York Times reported.

The two Democratic sponsors of the bill -- state Sen. James Skoufis and Assemblyman Jospeh Lentol -- affirm that the new legislation creates a needed balance by providing regulation for home-sharing sites while also realizing the sites are not going away.

A federal judge in January pumped the brakes on a New York City law that would have required online rental services to disclose the addresses of its listings and the identities of its hosts to the city’s Office of Special Enforcement on a monthly basis, The New York Times reported. The ruling claimed such measures violated the right to protection against illegal searches and seizures guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.


Mayor Bill de Blasio, who signed the bill into law in August 2018 after it unanimously passed the City Council, and other Democratic lawmakers have criticized Airbnb and HomeAway for contributing to rising rent in the city. The home-sharing platforms have been blamed for turning apartments into illegal hotels and aggravating the city’s housing shortage.

Airbnb’s head of policy and communications, Chris LeHane, announced his company’s support for the new legislation in a joint press conference with state legislators in Albany Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.