AirBnb Critics And Supporters Clash At Steps Of City Hall

January 20, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Two AirBnb rallies are about to begin on the steps of City Hall. The New York Times reports that at 9:15 AM and 9:45 AM, there will be showdowns between critics and supporters of the start-up that has enabled thousands of New Yorkers to rent apartments like hotel rooms. The rallies come ahead of City Halls meeting, “Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilizing Neighborhoods?” in which city officials will debate the merits and legality of AirBnb.

NBC explains that in New York, it is illegal to rent an apartment for “under 30 days unless the resident also stays there.” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman found in a report last fall that “nearly three-quarters of Airbnb listings violated city or state laws.” In a city with an affordable housing problem, city officials fear that AirBhb users are perpetually renting out properties rather than releasing them to responsible tenants.

AirBnb, meanwhile, has maintained that most of its users rent their apartments on an as-needed basis “to pay their bills and stay in their homes.” The start-up proposes that the state “carefully amended” its laws “to make it possible for regular people to occasionally share only the home in which they live” while weeding out those who take advantage of the system.

(Photo: David Cornejo)