The New York City Council is crafting a new law which aims to continue the city’s onslaught against Airbnb.
According to Politico, the Council will in the next couple of months roll out a bill that would require hosts living in short-term rental units to surrender to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement information about addresses for their listings, and also furnish the office with full names and their primary addresses, something that is hoped will make the city easily identify hosts operating illegal hotels rather than renting out own homes.
Corey Johnson, City Council speaker, told Politico that Airbnb had refused disclosing data about illegal listings, even after being subpoenaed by the city.
“We are therefore taking action to do what they’ve’ failed to do- which is protecting affordable housing from crafty operators,” he added.
It’s not clear what kind of penalties will be meted out to Airbnb hosts who fail to surrender this information to the office of the Mayor. Apart from disclosing their contact information, hosts could also be asked to state whether they are leasing out just a room or their entire home, and also disclose if the property being rented our is their primary dwelling place.
Already, Airbnb is planning to fight this piece of legislation, noting that the bill is nothing but another attempt to please lobbying hotel industry and intimidate ‘honest working New Yorkers,’ according to Politico.
The New York crackdown comes on the backdrop of a well-funded lobbying and advertising by the hotel industry, which recently ran ads in support of a report from Scott Stringer City Comptroller that was critical of Airbnb. The report accused Airbnb of reducing affordable housing in the city.
In New York City alone, the Hotel Trades Council donated in the excess of $100,000 to fund the 2017 election cycle. In fact, its consultants worked closely on the successful campaign of Corey Johnson’s race to speaker. A union spokesman declined to comment.
The union-and hotel-backed arguments seem to resonate, prompting lawmakers to try and rein in on Airbnb, which many people have accused of working outside the realm of traditional housing regulations.