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Airbnb limits reservations in New York as short-term rental rules go into effect

NEW YORK — Home-sharing giant Airbnb said it had to stop accepting some bookings in New York because new regulations on short-term rentals came into effect on Tuesday, which will bring big changes for travelers hoping avoid the high cost of a Big Apple hotel.

The new rules aim to end the melee in which landlords and city residents rent out their apartments on a weekly or nightly basis to tourists or others in town for short stays.

Under the new system, rentals of less than 30 days are only allowed if hosts register with the city. Hosts must agree to be physically present in the listing for the duration of the rental, sharing the living quarters with their guest. More than two guests at a time are also not allowed, which means families are effectively prohibited.

Platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and others are not allowed to process rentals from unregistered hosts – and as of the start of this week, few had successfully signed up. The city says it approved just under 300 of the more than 3,800 applications received.

Housing officials and advocates who had lobbied for the restrictions said they were necessary to prevent apartments from becoming de facto hotels.

“In New York, residential apartments should be for residential use,” said Murray Cox of Inside Airbnb, a housing advocacy group that collects data on the company’s presence in cities around the world.

Airbnb challenged these rules in court, arguing that they were essentially a ban and would hurt visitors looking for affordable housing.

But since August 21, the company – which had 38,500 active non-hotel listings in New York last January – said it had stopped accepting new short-term reservations from any host who had not provided neither a city registration number nor a registration number. documentation indicating that the process was in progress. He said once the city’s verification system is fully operational, no short-term ads will be allowed on his site without a registration number.

Some small houses said they were unfairly targeted and grouped with larger apartment buildings.

“I think that’s a huge indication that our elected officials have let us down,” said Krystal Payne, who lives in a two-family home in Brooklyn and rented one of the apartments to help pay her mortgage.

The regulations were passed by the city in January last year, but were delayed by lawsuits until last month.

While online rental listing services gave travelers more options in New York — and were a financial windfall for residents who rented their homes while on vacation — they also sparked complaints about the scarcity of housing in residential neighborhoods engulfed by tourists.

Regular tenants complained of buildings that suddenly looked like hotels, with strangers in the hallways and occasional parties in the rented accommodations. Investors snapped up apartments in condominiums or entire townhouses, then made their fortunes renting by the night, prohibited by law.

“Registration creates a clear path for hosts who follow the city’s longstanding laws and protects travelers from illegal and unsafe accommodations, while ending the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals,” said Christian Klossner. , executive director of the city’s Office of Special Enforcement. A declaration.

In guidelines issued after last month’s court ruling, Airbnb told New York City hosts they should either register with the city or convert to long-stay hosting if possible. . The company also said any existing short-term reservations with check-in before December 1 would be allowed to go ahead, with processing fees refunded, while those with check-in dates after that date would be canceled and reimbursed.

Airbnb’s director of global policy, Theo Yedinsky, called the rule changes a blow to “thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in outlying boroughs who rely on home sharing and tourism dollars.” to make ends meet”.

“The city is sending a clear message to the millions of potential visitors who will now have fewer accommodation options when visiting New York: ‘You are not welcome,'” he said.

ABC News

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