New York - Does The New Hotel Law Mean No More Craigslist Vacation Rentals?
New York - Now that New York has outlawed short-term apartment and room rentals, a practice that has given budget travelers an alternative to the city’s pricey hotels, we’ve got to wonder: How will the new law be enforced?
The new law, signed by Gov. David Paterson on Friday, makes it illegal to rent space in most multifamily residential buildings for less than 30 days at a stretch. It reverses a 2009 court decision that sanctioned short-term rentals so long as fewer than half of all units in a residential building were used for non-permanent residents.
The legislation points to Web’s role in making it “easier than ever to advertise illegal hotel rooms for rent to tourists.” Websites like Craigslist.org, AirBnb.com, and Homeaway.com have become popular clearinghouses for short-term rentals, with many listing accommodations — albeit of varying quality — for under $100. The average rate for a night in a New York City hotel last month was $231.
So will this new law, which goes into effect next May, create a new law-enforcement team tasked with trolling Craigslist for illegal rentals?
Fun as that might be to imagine, enforcement will be far more mundane.
According to Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor, responsibility for investigating illegal rentals will fall to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, a force that deals with quality of life issues. Post said enforcement will be “complaint based” and fueled largely by calls to 311, but he did not rule out the notion that investigators would monitor rental-listing websites. “There are a lot ways to receive complaints,” he said.
Penalties will be set by an administrative law judge and can run as high as $2,000 for a violation. Those dwelling in an illegal short-term residence will not be tossed out onto the street unless a safety hazard was also found, Post said.
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