A report on New York City Airbnb rentals has found cases of air mattresses in kitchens, bunk beds in dining areas and listings for up to 32 people, showing the need for tighter rules on the popular online home rental service, according to the two state lawmakers who issued the analysis.
The study, from Democratic Sens. Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino, looked at advertisements for 110 rentals offering space for 13 or more people. Klein, who's from the Bronx, said some of the rentals were unsafe and in violation of state and city housing codes. According to the review, most of the 110 advertisements offered space for 16 or more people, despite rules capping occupancy at 16.
"We must take legislative action to prevent potential tragedy that could occur from illegally packing people into spaces and hold sites like Airbnb accountable," said Klein, who leads a group of senators known as the Independent Democratic Conference.
Klein and other lawmakers have expressed concerns about Airbnb allowing landlords and property owners to turn their properties into unlicensed hotels, hurting existing commercial hotels while potentially taking affordable apartments off the market.
In response to the study, San Francisco-based Airbnb Inc. released a statement saying it would work with Klein and other lawmakers to "find a sensible solution" that balances appropriate rentals with the need to "crack down on commercial operators."
The overwhelming majority of hosts in New York share their homes as a way to earn extra money and keep up with the rising cost of living in the city, the company said.
Legislation authorizing hefty fines for online advertisements of Airbnbs is pending before Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.