As you surely know by now if you rent out your apartment through Airbnb—whether you’re a working stiff making a few extra bucks each month to cover your rent or an enterprising bartender making $45,000 a year pimping out your friends’ pads—the jig is just about up. A new state law threatens to push many users out of the short-term rental business, so Bedford + Bowery asked several Airbnb hosts from the home sharing hub of Williamsburg how they plan to deal with the new regulation. Keep Reading »
Before Cuomo Cracks Down On Apartment Sharing, He Should Read This Site’s Amazing Description of the East Village
Earlier today, the New York State Senate passed a bill that, if signed into law by Governor Cuomo, would make it harder to post illegal short-term rentals listings for apartments. The proposed law builds upon a piece of legislation from 2010 that made it illegal for a landlord to rent out a class-A multi-unit dwelling for less than 30 days. The new law would help with enforcement and act as a deterrent by making listing sites like Airbnb liable for facilitating these regulatory violations.
As he rang in 2015, Fabrice Grinda, a 41-year-old tech entrepreneur from France, took stock of his life. He’d been living out of suitcases for the past four years, globetrotting and swinging between upscale hotels and top-notch Airbnbs. He decided it was time to “partially re-materialize.” Not settle down with a white picket fence (horrors!) — nothing drastic — but simply find a simple New York landing pad he could call his own.
During a recent trip backpacking through Thailand, Kamilah Gray was taken with the experience of meeting new friends at hostels. So, once the 25-year-old got back in New York she Googled “adult dorm” on a whim and found Common.
It’s not exactly a dorm, she says, but it’s definitely a change in lifestyle. Three weeks ago, she moved into one of the start-up’s Crown Heights locations, where she pays $1,540 a month for a small bedroom that comes with a host of perks: a mattress, linens, free laundry and housekeeping, and, above all, a sense of belonging with her 18 new housemates– something that had been hard to achieve during her three years as a New Yorker.
Travel to almost any international city, from Berlin to Lima, and chances are you can to drop your bags at a cheap hostel filled with bunk beds and Ikea furniture, hassle free.
Not so in New York City. Even one of the last standouts, the hostel (something of a flophouse, in reality), The Whitehouse Hotel on Bowery, closed “temporarily” last year and has yet to reopen. But a new bill, introduced to City Council by Margaret Chin, could allow hostels to thrive, a prospect that has major implications for how we discuss the battle between Airbnb and critics of “illegal hotels.”
With hotels, Airbnbs, and gifty boutiques popping up all over Williamsburg to serve an influx of out-of-towners, one has to wonder: how many people strolling Bedford Avenue at a given time are locals, and how many are tourists? To answer that question, we posted up outside of the Bedford station and polled over 300 passersby. Our findings: 1 in 3 people we spoke to were from outside of New York City (about half of those visitors were Europeans), while just 1 in 4 of them actually lived in Williamsburg. As one of Williamsburg’s many French tourists might say: “Mon dieu!”
Actually, that’s not quite true.
In response to complaints that illegal hotels, including Airbnb rentals that violate the law, are worsening New York City’s lack of affordable housing, undermining the city’s hotel market, and causing safety issues in apartment buildings, New York City Council members have announced a comprehensive plan to double the city department responsible for investigating violations.
Airbnb officials went head to head with City Council members at a committee hearing Tuesday morning, defending the right of its hosts to rent out their apartment even if it breaks New York State law.
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Public Advocate Letitia James is calling on AirBNB to boot its “illegal hotel kingpins” and blaming the apartment-sharing service for an affordable housing crisis in Bushwick, Greenpoint and other Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Last month, a nationwide survey found that Brooklyn had the least affordable housing of any county in the nation, with 98% of the average family’s wages needed to cover the median home cost. James thinks Airbnb is one of the culprits. “By helping turn a portion of our scarce housing supply into short-term rentals,” she writes in a letter to the company’s co-founder and CEO, “Airbnb and the illegal hotel operators it enables are contributing to the affordable housing crisis.”
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With its fight against the New York Attorney General simmering, a new campaign has been launched to fight Airbnb. is a group of community activists, organizations, elected officials, and others who went public today with an assault on the apartment-sharing service, which they believe is more of a disservice to the community.
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After six months of combative back and forth, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and AirBNB have come to an agreement that will allow the apartment-rental site to turn over anonymized data regarding its users and out them by name only if they become the subject of an investigation.
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