Airbnb NYC settlement means hosts will be delisted if they do not agree to sharing information
Airbnb and New York City ended a year-long battle over short-term rental compliance and reached an agreement that requires Airbnb to provide the city with information about hosts, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If hosts do not agree to the data transfer, they will be prevented from listing their properties on the platform.
Airbnb’s agreeing to such an agreement in one of its largest global markets could have implications for other cities.
With some exceptions, e.g. B. For private and shared room listings and accommodations listed for fewer than four nights in the prior quarter, New York hosts are subject to payment of state sales and use tax, New York City and city hotel occupancy tax, and enter the nightly room charges.
“This information is only provided to hosts who have consented — but hosts who have not consented cannot list their listing for short-term rentals,” Airbnb explained.
The settlement of Airbnb’s lawsuit against the city, filed in the Southern District of Federal Court in New York in 2018, gives Airbnb protection should companies like Expedia’s Vrbo or Booking.com manage to get a better deal.
However, the settlement requires the city to consider amended regulation on these issues within the next 120 days, which would also apply to all other short-term rental platforms.
The agreement, reached on Friday, is subject to the passage of an ordinance by New York City Council approving the terms and would take effect 180 days after such action. It is therefore likely that the new rules and transfer of host information would not begin until 2021.
The deal is not retroactive, so Airbnb would not need to provide host and listing information to the city prior to implementation.
The regulation and exemption from claims, ie embedded below, don’t seem to be easing New York’s strict restrictions on short-term rentals. New York State Multiple Dwelling Law restricts certain short term rentals for stays less than 30 days unless the host is present. That effectively rules out superhosts and multi-apartment businesses unless they have hotel licenses.
Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk updated hosts on the company’s rationale for the deal in an online message and email. Airbnb is hosting a webinar on June 29 to answer hosts’ questions.
“First, compared to the city’s original ordinance, the exemptions and confidentiality provisions being included in the amended ordinance, and the city’s associated obligations, will help protect the personal information of many hosts across the city who would not otherwise have such protections.” would have received,” said Blecharczyk.
For example, host information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which requires disclosure of public records, the parties said.
The Airbnb co-founder said he hopes billing and the submission of host information would reassure the city and realize “that short-term rentals can be effectively regulated without blunt prohibitions.”
“Today, more than ever, regular New Yorkers should have the opportunity to occasionally share their homes, an activity that we don’t think should be confused with illegal hotels,” Blecharczyk said. “By sharing all relevant data, we hope to make this clear to all those affected.”
The problem, however, is that short-term rentals have become a flashpoint, as many actually serve as quasi-hotels, disrupting communities and contributing to the shortage of affordable housing.
Airbnb has increasingly entered into agreements with cities like Boston to share such host information with local authorities in an attempt to make peace with regulators.
To update: Vijay Dandapani, CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City, told Skift Monday he thinks “Airbnb got off very lightly and this [the settlement] do almost enough to stop illegal activities.”
Amid Dandapani’s objections, he said compliance verification is the responsibility of the Office of Special Enforcement, which “is already buried under reams of subpoena data that they didn’t even get to.”
Other weaknesses in the settlement include a “paltry” $1,500 quarterly penalty for not reporting information and the possibility for Airbnb to take further legal action against future legislation, he said. Dandapani added that the settlement lacks cross-referencing mechanisms by owner and address.]
In other Airbnb news:
Reuters reported that Airbnb has partnered with Sao Paulo, Brazil, to revive tourism there once the coronavirus pandemic abates.
As Skift reported on Friday, female employees at Airbnb in China sent a letter to management through a senior executive in China who allegedly spoke through his scorecard on the appearance of female employees in China and San Francisco.
The Airbnb co-founder and CEO said Thursday that his board of directors, which includes “four white men, three white women, one black man and one Asian man,” according to CNN, should be more diversified and that Airbnb “could have done so much more.” on diversity issues.
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Correction: The article incorrectly reported that Airbnb and New York City’s agreement to share host information would lead to increased city tax collection efforts. But the settlement aims to crack down on illegal short-term rentals, not the tax collection for which New York State is primarily responsible.
Note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Hotel Association of New York.
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