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New rule to take effect for NYC’s short-term rentals

Dramatic changes to New York City’s short-term rental market are set to kick in on Tuesday with a new city law requiring landlords to register with the city in order to maintain their listings on Airbnb, Vrbo or similar sites. Violators could be fined as much as $5,000.

Supporters and opponents of the law said it would likely nullify thousands of listings across the five boroughs that are meant for 30 days or fewer.

Gia Sharp, a homeowner in Sunset Park and a co-founder of Restore Homeowner Autonomy and Rights, or RHOAR, said that prospect is “terrifying.”

“Because it really brings down the gauntlet and makes it impossible for us to do any type of short-term rental anymore,” said Sharp.

However, Michael McKee of the Tenants Political Action Committee said he anticipated that thousands of units currently being rented short-term on sites like Airbnb “would be returned to the residential rental market” over the coming year, which would in turn help mitigate the city’s housing crisis.

“We are feeling very, very good about where we are right now,” said McKee, who is a member of the Coalition Against Illegal Hotels. “We have worked for more than a decade to get a law on the books of this nature.”

Enforcement of the law falls to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, which said on its website that it “will focus on collaborating with the booking platforms to ensure they are using the city’s verification system, that all verifications are occurring correctly, and that the platforms stop processing unverified transactions.”

In a statement, Theo Yedinsky, Airbnb’s global policy director, said the company had tried to create “sensible home-sharing regulations.”

“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 Yedinsky. “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.”

Vrbo did not respond to questions about the new law.

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