One New York landlord has some fines to pay after getting slapped with $11,000 in fines for running an illegal Airbnb in New York City. Not only did the landlord rent the nine-bedroom apartment on the home sharing website, but they stuffed as many as 34 guests into the property at any one time. The Bushwick apartment owner charged guests as much as $115 a night for a bunk bed in a room with other guests.
The health department put a vacate order on the door of the property. New York City’s mayor has an Office of Special Enforcement that’s cracking down on the home-sharing website. New York City’s laws prohibit most rentals of less than thirty days. In addition to banning the short term rentals, New York City’s laws prohibit advertising an illegal rental.
Airbnb is worth billions of dollars. However, they resist law enforcement’s efforts to collect information about property owners who rent their properties in violation of local ordinances. They say that they’re just a marketing service. The company generally avoids liability by saying that they don’t give legal advice, and that each owner has to affirm that they’re renting in compliance with local laws and regulations.
Even so, more and more local communities are debating the future of home sharing services such as Airbnb. Supporters say that the service is a great way for renters and homeowners alike to make ends meet and make a few extra bucks. They say that homeowners should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to use their property. They say travelers can find lower pries and more options for an authentic travel experience by using home sharing instead of traditional hotels.
Opponents of the service say that it’s not so simple. They say that the service doesn’t come with the same regulations and protections that hotels have to follow. From fire safety to security, critics say that there are real risks associated with the service that hosts and travelers alike may not realize. Neighbors complain about their homes lying in the wake of noisy travelers who come ready for a good time.
State and local officials around the United States are currently struggling with how to balance these different points of view. San Francisco has increased regulation of home sharing units. The State of Michigan is considering banning regulation of the rentals on the local level. In the meantime, one landlord in New York City has $11,000 in fines to pay while this debate continues to rage around the United States.