Visiting the Big Apple? Don’t plan on using Airbnb. Photo: Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Short-term rental bans and restrictions are popping up all over the country. In June, the Dallas City Council approved a new measure restricting short-term rentals from neighborhoods with single-family homes. In Burlington, Vermont, also as of June, owners now have to register their short-term rental units with the city and pay a fee, as well as a 9% tax. And rental units must be on the same lot as the host’s primary residence (with some exceptions). Voters in Aspen, Colorado, approved a ballot measure that imposes a 5% tax on nightly room rates for short-term rentals with lodge-exempt permits and a 10% tax on investment properties. To be a short-term rental owner in Atlanta, you must be a resident of the city, which caps short-term rental ownership at two properties per resident, one of which must be the owner’s primary residence. The city also requires owners to pay $150 each year for the license, plus an 8% rental tax fee. Some have referred to this trend toward restrictions as an “Airbnbust.” The cherry on top? New restrictions in the Big Apple. 

Local Law 18 went into effect in New York City this past Tuesday, Sept. 5, drastically restricting short-term rentals. All short-term rental hosts in New York must register with the city. Only those who live in the place they’re renting — and are present during guest stays —can qualify. Oh, and there are now a max of two guests per unit. Hosts now have to register with the city to be allowed to rent on a short-term basis, if they can meet those requirements. Hosts who repeatedly violate the rules could face fines of up to $5,000, while platforms could be fined up to $1,500. 

Of the roughly 3,250 applications that the city has received, only 250 have been approved so far. It is estimated that at least 70% of listings have already disappeared. In short, gone are the days of having an affordable way to visit an expensive city, and an easy way for residents to earn income. 

Have a trip to NYC planned? Existing reservations for less than 30 days with check-in on or before Dec. 1 will not be canceled to mitigate impact to hosts and guests. To comply with the short-term rental regulations, Airbnb will be refunding all fees associated with these stays after check-in occurs. Existing short-term rental reservations with check-in dates on or after Dec. 2 will be canceled and refunded.

Airbnb’s global policy director, Theo Yedinsky, called the rule changes a blow to “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.’”

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