Since 2010, it is has been illegal for private homeowners to rent out their homes and apartments for less than 30 days. However, since the advent of Airbnb, New York residents have ignored this law and have continued to offer their homes for rent for as little as a few hundred dollars per night to thousands of dollars for an entire week.
New York legislators are keen to these schemes and have suggested a new law that would prevent homeowners from posting their properties for rent on Airbnb. Violators could be fined up to $7,500 according to a nytimes.com report. Proponents of the law believe that it is essential to stop (or at least control) the growth of Airbnb because of the lack of affordable housing in New York City that further could be lost.
Opponents of the bill believe that it is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech. They claim that the new law prohibits citizens from using their First Amendment rights. Indeed, they understand the problems surrounding the use of illegal hotels, but they also believe that private citizens listing their own properties for rent is protected speech.
It remains to be seen how a court will strike the law down or issue an injunction that will allow Airbnb to continue its operations. Indeed, there is quite a bit of money at stake for homeowners. New York City is Airbnb's largest market in the United States, with nearly $1 billion in revenue over the last year.
If you have questions about the use of your property through Airbnb, an experienced real estate attorney can help.