NYC Council Proposes $10,000 – $50,000 Fines on Illegal “Entire Place” Rentals

NYC Council to propose tough penalties for landlords who use sites like Airbnb, in effort to keep affordable housing

From the New York Daily News, June 10, 2015

Manhattan City Council members Helen Rosenthal and Ydanis Rodriguez will propose tough new penalties Wednesday aimed at property owners who violate the city’s ban on short-term rentals by listing their units on home-sharing sites like Airbnb.

Under the new legislation, the fine for a first offense would increase tenfold, from the current $1,000 to a whopping $10,000, with the maximum penalty jumping from $25,000 to $50,000. A companion bill would mandate an annual report from City Hall of complaints, inspections, and fines connected to illegal short-term rentals.

Both proposals are expected to sail through the Council, given that Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, chair of the housing committee, is a co-sponsor — and given the growing evidence that these illegal rentals are reducing the affordable housing stock in many neighborhoods.

Current law only allows a permanent resident to sublet a property for less than 30 days if that resident continues to live in the unit.

In Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Chelsea and Greenwich Village and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg/Greenpoint, some landlords warehouse entire floors of rent-stabilized buildings to rent out on a per-day basis, the report found.