ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -The Albany community met Thursday evening on short-term rentals as housing has become a point of concern. This includes services such as Airbnb and Vrbo.
The first discussion of short-term rentals welcomed over 50 participants and centered around one question: “What do you think a successful short-term policy looks like?”
Organizers from the City say regulating these rentals has been talked about for almost a year. After a presentation from Neighborhood and Community Services, neighbors paired up to voice their views.
“We don’t have any plans as of right now but we’re contemplating a potential regulatory system and we want to hear what people want to think and what ideas they have,” stated Director of Planning, Brad Glass.
Attendees mentioned trash and noise issues caused by parties and safety issues in shared spaces of short-term and long-term renters. The City is looking into ways to hold landlords, or hosts, accountable and effectively involve police when needed.
“The absentee landlord, the negligent landlord, has been the consistent issue in regards to short-term rentals,” described 7th Ward Councilman, Sergio Adams.
“Hear what the responses are from the host and how the hosts are addressing that. Just from our initial conversation, I think it’s been overwhelmingly positive,” added Host, Joshua Biernat.
Some call short-term rentals affordable tourism while others argue long-term rentals have been evicted to make them. Adams sees Capital Region attractions like the Belmont Stakes and local events such as the New York State Black Latino Caucus as reasonable ways to bring and keep revenue in Albany.
“Right there by the Capitol anyone who is operating an Airbnb is getting money. You have individuals, who are professionals, who are looking for a place that is safe, clean, and convenient.”
When it comes to a lack of affordable housing, Biernat says an owner of four Albany Airbnbs that the issue is not people like him. Instead, he blames the construction of new homes declining around COVID.
“We’ve been playing catch-up. You add the rates, you add the price increases, everything. It’s no wonder we’re in the housing situation we are. It was not created by Airbnb. It was created by bad policies during COVID.”
The Council’s Law Committee will continue to discuss short-term rental legislation on February 7 starting around 6:15 p.m. at City Hall.