Majority of short-term rental hosts in NYC still waiting for city approval – Inman

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Five months after New York City’s Short-Term Rental Registration Law went into effect, more than 5,000 Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com hosts have been told by the city to send more information.

When New York City updated its regulations on short-term rentals last year, it passed a new requirement that all rental operators must have their units registered with the city.

Nearly five months after the bill took effect in September, New York City’s Office of Special Enforcement has ruled on 90 percent of approximately 10,000 applications from would-be short-term rental hosts, with 1,211, or 22 percent, of applications approved and 897, or 16 percent of applications, rejected, according to data the city provided the travel news site Skift

A majority of the applications, 53 percent, were bounced back for corrections or additional information, according to the report.

Typical reasons for rejections included applicants submitting public housing units or rent-controlled units, both of which are forbidden for use as short-term rentals. Other reasons include building owners listing their buildings on a prohibited buildings list or certain rental leases barring short-term use.

Under the new law, and as part of the approval process, the Office of Special Enforcement verifies the host’s identity and property location and then ascertains whether they are in compliance. It requires all hosts on Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com and other platforms to register with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.

That usually involves confirming that the host actually lives in the unit they are hoping to rent, whether or not that unit falls under rent regulations or any other regulation that would prevent it from being legally rented, and inspecting the unit to determine if there are any safety violations on site.

New York’s Local Law 18, in addition to requiring operators to register their units with the city, forbids New York City residents from renting out their entire home or apartment for fewer than 30 days, instead allowing only sections of homes to be rented out and requiring hosts to be present in the property for stays of fewer than 30 days.

Short-term rentals king Airbnb has derided the law as a de facto ban on its business in the nation’s largest city. The company mounted a legal challenge against the law in June, but it was dismissed.

The law has cut into Airbnb’s operations in the city considerably. The number of Airbnb listings dropped by 80 percent between August 2023 and October 2023 — from 22,434 in August to just 3,227 by October, according to AirDNA. That doesn’t include short-term rentals on other platforms such as VRBO, which are also affected by the new regulations.

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