New York is incredibly important to Airbnb, and I am proud of our efforts there. A few weeks ago, we partnered with Mayor Bloomberg to create a special page on our site where hosts in the New York City area could offer space in their homes for free to victims of Hurricane Sandy. More than 1,400 free listings were offered by Airbnb hosts — an incredible display of generosity from our community.
We know that our community faces challenges in New York as well. We recently received a number of inquiries about an article in the New York Times that highlighted a host who was cited for a violation of New York’s short term rental laws. While this host escaped penalty for the alleged violations, the case did raise an important issue: short term rental laws around the world vary widely, and it is important for hosts to check their local laws and individual leases before listing on our site. Although our New York hosts have generally not been targeted for enforcement, we are nevertheless actively discussing the laws of New York with State and City officials.
We believe strongly in the power of carefully crafted legislation to prevent harmful behavior while protecting those who are contributing positively to a city’s fabric. In particular, we believe that that New York can and should pass legislation that would weed out the truly bad actors who disrupt their neighborhoods while protecting our core community.
Cities are beginning to understand the benefits that Airbnb brings — even where current law is over-restrictive. Our efforts in New York are not unique. We are increasingly engaging with governments around the world to address the patchwork of laws governing the activity of our community. In some cities, short term rentals are always OK. In others, they are not. But in many cities, laws are confusing and unclear; sometimes, even to the governments that created them.
It’s not always easy to know how a given city official or legislative body may interpret a law on the books. Our goal is to work towards a more consistent, fair, and progressive set of laws so that the amazing community of travelers and hosts who use Airbnb every single day can continue to flourish.
If you’d like to become involved in our discussions in your neighborhood, please email our team at [email protected].