It’s about to become more difficult for visitors to find a place to stay in New York City if they don’t want to check into a hotel.
That’s because thousands of New York City Airbnb listings are being removed from the market as their owners prepare for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) to begin enforcing Local Law 18, also known as the Short-Term Rental Registration Law, on September 5, 2023.
The law, which was adopted in January 2022, requires short-term rental hosts to register with OSE. Importantly, it also prohibits booking service platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com from processing transactions for unregistered short-term rentals.
It should be noted that short-term rental listings for units in “Class B” multiple dwellings that have been approved by the City of New York for legal short-term occupancies are exempt from the registration requirement. Those Class B dwellings include hotels, lodging houses, and rooming houses.
Officials at Airbnb, as you may well expect, object to the new law.
“New York City’s new short-term rental rules are a blow to its tourism economy and the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in the outer boroughs who rely on home sharing and tourism dollars to help make ends meet,” said Theo Yedinsky, global policy director for Airbnb, according to USA Today. “The city is sending a clear message to millions of potential visitors who will now have fewer accommodation options when they visit New York City: You are not welcome.”
However, earlier this month, a New York judge dismissed lawsuits filed by Airbnb and three hosts over the rules. In that ruling, the judge noted that the restrictions were “entirely rational.”
Christian Klossner, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, notes that the short-term rental registration “creates a clear path for hosts who follow the city’s laws and protects travelers from illegal and unsafe accommodations,” USA Today reports.
“We have consistently worked with hosts and platforms to ensure they are aware of their requirements under the law, and intend to continue doing so before enforcement begins September 5,” Klossner continued.
What NYC Requires From Hosts
New York City’s Local Law 18 requires hosts to acknowledge and comply with NYC’s regulations, but it also prohibits booking platforms like Airbnb from processing transactions for units that are not registered.
You “cannot rent out an entire apartment or home to visitors for less than 30 days, even if you own or live in the building,” the OSE explains on its website. “This applies to all permanent residential buildings.”
Furthermore, hosts can only offer short-term rentals if they remain with their guests in the apartment or unit. Among other rules, they are also prohibited from having more than two paying guests at a time.
“There are penalties for both hosts and booking services who fail to comply with the requirements of the law,” the OSE notes.
Fallout Has Begun
Airbnb estimates 5,300 existing reservations would be affected in the first week of enforcement, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s out of more than 40,500 short-term rental stays in New York City beginning on or after September 5.
In the meantime, the City of New York is processing registrations but there is understandably a backlog.
“It seems clear to me, based upon the current speed at which the city is processing applications for hosts, that a lot of supply will drop out of what’s currently available,” said Sean Hennessey, clinical associate professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies, according to USA Today.
Importantly, Airbnb, which is the dominant booking platform in New York City, has stopped accepting short-term rental reservations for hosts that have not provided the platform with their NYC registration number. That said, the platform will not cancel existing bookings for those rentals through December 1.
Consequently, if you’re planning to visit New York City this fall and will be staying in a short-term rental, Hennessey says it would be “prudent” to contact hosts about the reservations and ask about updates.
While you’re thinking about it, be sure to read our New York City content, including: