Airbnb Has Trouble In The Big Apple
Airbnb, a company that specializes in finding short-term lodging for travelers all over the world, has received a major set-back in New York City. This month, a New York City judge ruled that one landlord was guilty of running an illegal hotel because his tenant rented out his bedroom for three days to a foreign visitor.
Currently, New York City requires that any room or apartment sublet that lasts fewer than 30 days requires that the tenant be present while his paying guest is in residence. In the recent court case, the tenant was not at home during the visitor's stay, so his landlord was accused of running an illegal hotel. The landlord was fined, but his tenant paid it in order to avoid eviction.
New York City has cracked down on illegal rentals in recent years. This current effort threatens Airbnb's efforts in New York and in other locations with similar sublet rules. What has been a profitable enterprise for both tenants and their paying guests may come to a grinding halt unless the law can be changed. Landlords, in particular, are likely to crack down on such sublets if they continue to be held responsible for these supposed illegal hotels. Since the landlord is not the one profiting from this situation, the current law seems confusing. In these Airbnb situations, the profit is going to the tenant.
Airbnb and other similar companies will undoubtedly fight the ruling as it strikes at the heart of their profits. Until the ruling is changed, subletting an apartment in New York City for fewer than 30 days has its financial risk.
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