Is New York leading the charge against Airbnb? A major crackdown has experts warning this could be the end of short-term rentals as we know it.

If you went on vacation over the past decade, chances are you ditched the hotel and rented a house or apartment using Airbnb, Vrbo, or other short term rental (STR) websites.

But, if you're planning on staying a few days in the Big Apple in the future, you might want to check into a hotel.

New laws took effect today in New York City, which has placed stringent restrictions on short-term rentals that has Airbnb hailing the move as a "de facto ban."

Local Law 18

Short term rentals could be wiped off the map in the Big Apple thanks to these new restrictions. Essentially, all rentals offering stays under 30 days must be approved by the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement.

Evan via airbnb
Evan via airbnb

Property owners have to undergo an application process and have to satisfy new guidelines in order to get the green light.

One of the biggest changes is mapped out in the registration rules, which state, "Short-term rentals are only permitted if the host is staying in the same unit or apartment as the guests, and there are no more than two guests staying with the host."

Additionally, the city also ruled that rent-regulated apartments are not eligible for approval. Landlords were also given additional power to ban any short term rentals from operating on their property.

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To date, building owners have registered 9,000 different New York City buildings for enforcement.

Before the rule change, NYC was home to more than 40,000 Airbnb rentals. At the moment, only a handful of hosts have filed for approval.

Christian Klossner, executive director of Office of Special Enforcement in New York City, said about 3,250 hosts submitted applications by August 28. At the moment, 800 of those applications were reviewed with 257 gaining approval.

As for the rest, 72 of them were rejected while 479 applicants were asked to provide additional information or make corrections to their application.

Those who run afoul of the law face strict penalties and fines.

Fighting the housing crisis

New York officials say the law was introduced to combat the growing housing crisis in the city. The ongoing housing shortage is driving up rental prices and has increased homelessness in the Big Apple.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Lawmakers say short term rentals are contributing to the problem, Their primary concern was that people with disposable income were snapping up available spaces purely to make a profit by turning them into Airbnbs.

So, political leaders looked into ways to ensure available units fell into the hands of renters instead of short term rental hosts. Using an older law in the books that already prohibited short-term rental apartments for less than 30 days, Local Law 18 was born.

What Airbnb says

Easy to say, Airbnb is not thrilled and tried suing the city to stop the laws from going in effect, but a judge dismissed their case saying the regulations were steeped in "common sense."

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Photo Credit - Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Now, the company is focusing on how these regulations will harm the city's tourism industry. Theo Yedinsky, global policy director for Airbnb, said in a statement:

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. 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.

NYC officials don't see such a dire picture and believe Airbnb's forecast is "speculative at this point."

As for whether or not these regulations will be modified or impact tourism, that has yet to be seen.

Will regulations like these come to Central NY?

It's already happening. For example, the village of Liverpool was the latest location to crack down on short term rentals. While the municipality had zoning codes that prohibited temporary rentals, local politicians clarified the rules to fully outlaw Airbnb or VRBO rentals.

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Other places to outlaw or restrict STRs include Salina, New Paltz and Saugerties while areas like Camillus, Cicero and Cazenovia have debated enacting such measures.

Whether or not the changes in NYC will be applied in more municipalities across the Empire State has yet to be seen.

However, with Airbnb falling out of popularity with the younger generations or those who live in STR-saturated areas -  it appears a change is going to come - we just don't know how big or small it will be.

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