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NYC could lose 10,000 Airbnb listings because of new short-term rental regulations

The new short-term rental registration law will require Airbnb hosts register their rental homes with New York City's database.
Chip Somodevilla
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The new short-term rental registration law will require Airbnb hosts register their rental homes with New York City's database.

Updated December 28, 2022 at 2:15 PM ET

A new short-term rental registration law put forth by the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams could remove thousands of Airbnb listings from the market next month.

The San Francisco-based company, which connects customers to short-term housing accommodations across the globe, is no stranger to conflict with New York City, one of its largest markets in the United States. Previously, the company sparred with former Mayor Bill de Blasio over listing regulations for short-term rentals. In July, the Adams administration filed a lawsuit to shut down an illegal short-term rental operation in Manhattan.

Earlier this month, officials held a public debate with local Airbnb hosts over the new short-term rental registration law.

And on Tuesday, Airbnb sent out an email to some of its users containing a form where people can complain to New York city officials about the new restrictions.

"We're reaching out because the City is set to enact a law that would drastically affect the ability of New York Hosts to continue sharing their homes," the email reads. "As a result, short-term rental accommodations for travelers like you will be dramatically reduced to hotels and a shared room with no locks. This will restrict travel options outside popular tourism areas and hurt small businesses throughout the city."

The new measure, which will go into effect in January, will require Airbnb hosts to register their short-term rentals with the city's database — including proof that the hosts themselves reside there, and that their home abides by local zoning and safety requirements. If Airbnb hosts fail to comply, they could face $1,000 to $5,000 in penalty fees.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said the new regulations will hurt average New Yorkers who are struggling to keep up with rising costs.

"Airbnb agrees regular New Yorkers should be able to share their home and not be targeted by the City, and we urge the administration to work with our Host community to support a regulatory framework that helps responsible Hosts and targets illegal hotel operators," Nathan Rotman, public policy regional lead for Airbnb, said in a statement to NPR on Wednesday.

Christian Klossner, executive director for the city's Office of Special Enforcement, told the New York Daily News that he expects to see 10,000 listings disappear after the new regulations go into effect.

"Every illegal short-term rental in our city represents a unit of housing that is not available for real New Yorkers to live in," New York State Senator Liz Krueger said in July, following news of the lawsuit. "In the middle of an ongoing affordable housing crisis, every single unit matters."

The measure comes at the same time that the cost of housing in New York City continues to rise. The median monthly rent for an apartment in Manhattan hit $4,033 in November, according to CNBC. And there now may be more Airbnb listings available than rentable apartments, according to a recent report from Curbed.

There are nearly 40,000 Airbnb listings in New York City alone, according to InsideAirbnb, which tracks these numbers. More than half of those listings, according to the database, are for an entire home, or apartment.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Giulia Heyward
Giulia Heyward is a weekend reporter for Digital News, based out of New York. She previously covered education and other national news as a reporting fellow at The New York Times and as the national education reporter at Capital B News. She interned for POLITICO, where she covered criminal justice reform in Florida, and CNN, as a writer for the trends & culture team. Her work has also been published in The Atlantic, HuffPost and The New Republic.