City Lawmaker Proposes Harsh Penalties for Landlords Who Use Airbnb Illegally

June 10, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Continuing the long battle between Airbnb and the city, one city councilmember has proposed fining landlords who rent out apartments as hotel rooms via the site and others like it. If passed, landlords would face fines between $1,000 to $10,000 for first-time offenses, CBS reports, with a maximum penalty of $50,000. For each day the fine isn’t paid, landlords could be fined “an additional $2,000 per day.”

There’s currently a $1,000 fine in place for first-time offenders, but according to City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who supports the legislation, that’s not effective. “They treat it as the cost of doing business,” she said. “We’re going to move to a system where there’s no financial incentive to behave as an illegal hotel operator. And that’s the goal of increasing the fines.”

The city has been cracking down on Airbnb since the fall, when state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report that found thousands of listings were illegal according to New York State law.