This week, a local judge ruled that a resident who used the service Airbnb to rent out his home was in violation of a local hotel law that says that a resident cannot rent out part or all of their property for less than 30 days if the resident isn’t present. Airbnb says that the law was created to prevent people from turning slum apartments into hotels and that the ruling is a mistake.
As a result of the ruling, the resident (actually a tenant of a condo) will have to pay a $2,400 fine for violating the law. Apparently, if the resident had been home at the time of the rental, then he would have qualified for an exception to the law.
Airbnb.com is a peer-to-peer room/house/couch renting service that connects homeowners (or tenants) with short-term renters. Airbnb provides an alternative to hotels for travelers interested in a different experience. Airbnb also provides homeowners (or tenants) with a great way to make extra money with their extra room, couch, or their entire place when they are out of town. According to the Airbnb website, there are currently over 22,700 places/rooms/couches to rent in New York City through their service.
I’ve used Airbnb on a trip to New York City and I wasn’t sure if the owner was simply a tenant or if he owned it himself. But I do know that the owner was home the entire time, so he would not have been in violation of this law.
If booking through Airbnb, or renting out your space there, be aware of this new law and make sure you are comfortable with the risks. Something tells me users of Airbnb won’t let this faze them. Letting a stranger sleep on your couch is risky enough!