Gov. Cuomo Authorizes Fines for Illegal Airbnb Rentals in New York state

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law Friday afternoon

What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo is prepared to enact a bill that poses tough restrictions on short-term rentals in New York
  • Landlords could be fined up to $7,500 for listings that violate a state law forbidding rentals shorter than 30 days
  • An investigation of Airbnb rentals from 2010 to 2014 revealed 72 percent of New York City's units were illegal

New York state has enacted one of the nation's toughest restrictions on short-term rentals offered on online sites like Airbnb.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law one of the nation's toughest restrictions on Airbnb, authorizing fines of up to $7,500 for people who advertise illegal short-term rentals. 

The Democratic governor signed the measure into law Friday despite a last-minute attempt to kill the proposal from Airbnb, the popular online short-term rental service.

The fines would be imposed on those who advertise a vacant apartment in a multi-unit building for 30 or fewer days.

Residents who rent spare bedrooms, row houses or single-family homes are exempt from the law.

Enforcing the law will be a challenge. Supporters — including labor unions often allied with Cuomo — say many short-term rentals are already prohibited by state and local laws.

Supporters say the law will help stop illegal, unlicensed hotels and protect affordable residential housing in New York City.

"These illegal rentals are not just breaking the law, they are breaking the back of an already dangerously thin affordable housing supply," New York City Councilmember Corey Johnson said. Most rentals offered on Airbnb are in New York City, but the new penalties would cover other regions of the state, as well.

An investigation of Airbnb rentals from 2010 to 2014 by the state attorney general's office found that 72 percent of the units in New York City were illegal, with commercial operators constituting 6 percent of the hosts and supplying 36 percent of the rentals.

As of August, Airbnb had 45,000 city listings and another 13,000 across the state.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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