Airbnb settles with NYC over $7,500 fines, how other cities are cracking down

Posted On Mon, December 5, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, December 5, 2016 By In Policy

After settling with New York state two weeks ago, Airbnb has now also dropped its case against the city, reports the Times. The company filed the lawsuits after Governor Cuomo passed a bill in October that would impose fines of up to $7,500 for illegal short-term rental listings–those rented out for fewer than 30 days without the lease holder present–on the site. The company agreed to settle on the grounds that the city only hold hosts responsible for the fines, not Airbnb. And they’re facing similar situations in cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, and London, who will likely look to the New York case as they move forward with their own regulations.


Outside of New York, other cities are also cracking down on room sharing. In Berlin, the city with what’s considered “the world’s toughest Airbnb laws,” landlords can only rent up to 50 percent of a home that they physically live in, and the number of properties granted these permits is small. Those who break the law are fined the equivalent of $106,000.

Just this past Thursday, Amsterdam imposed a 60-day-per-year cap on Airbnb listings for full apartment rentals (shared rooms fall under a different category). What’s interesting about this case is that the company is on board with the city’s plan. Airbnb will have day counters for hosts on the Amsterdam site, as well as warnings at 50 days. Though it should be noted that this move came after Amsterdam threatened in March to cease all operations with the company.

And finally, in London, which has the third largest number of Airbnb listings after New York and Paris respectively, apartments will be delisted after 90 days if they don’t comply with change-of-use permissions. As CityLab explains, “A report from Airbnb itself has nonetheless acknowledged that around a third of its London listings are rented for more than three months a year, after which landlords are required to seek a change-of-use permission (though they rarely apply for it).”


In terms of New York, as 6sqft previously explained, Airbnb felt the new law violated their First Amendment rights, as well as the Communications Decency Act, “a federal law that protects websites from being held accountable for content published by their users.” But the fines follow a 2010 law that says apartments can’t be rented for less than 30 days, as they then function as illegal hotels and remove valuable housing stock. Over the summer, Airbnb itself pulled 2,233 listings that fell under this category. The agreement was reached on Friday, and the settlement goes into effect today. The company’s ultimate decisions to oblige with all three cities’ regulations may signal a shift in their business model.

[Via NYT and CityLab]


Lead image via Unsplash

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