In an attempt to crack down on illegal short-term rentals, Mayor de Blasio’s budget for the fiscal year 2018 allocates $1.6 million to expand the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, the department that inspects and fines landlords who rent entire apartments for fewer than 30 days. Adding to these efforts, an anti-Airbnb coalition made up of public officials and housing organizations/unions created a hotline for New York City tenants to report any illegal rentals, as reported by the Daily News. Beginning today, ShareBetter will start receiving actionable complaints.
Map of Airbnb listings via ShareBetter
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who represents Manhattan, told the Daily News: “Airbnb is clearly unwilling to bring its operation into compliance with the law, so we have to do the job ourselves. This new hotline will educate, engage and mobilize neighborhood residents to stand up to Airbnb by filing complaints that will help the city with enforcement actions.”
The hotline will be staffed with live operators from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For after-hour reports, callers will be able to leave a message that can be returned the following working day. Hotline operators will ask questions similar to what the city’s Office of Special Enforcement and 311 uses to identify the location of the complaint. The group put Elan Parra, the former director of the city’s special enforcement department, in charge of the hotline.
Airbnb spokesperson Peter Scottenfels said the company already has a hotline for New Yorkers to use if they have concerns about a listing in their area and said ShareBetter’s initiative is “nothing more than another attempt to pit neighbor against neighbor by a shady hotel front group grasping at straws to protect their ability to price gouge.”
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