Dozens of Upper West Side properties are listed on Airbnb. A new state law imposes fines for listing apartments illegally.

Governor Cuomo signed a law on Friday that could mean big fines for people who advertise their homes on Airbnb, if they don’t follow the state law outlawing illegal hotel rentals.

It’s already illegal to rent units in class-A multiple dwellings — most apartments — for less than 30 days if the owner or renter isn’t present when the guest is there. But there wasn’t much enforcement of the law, because it depended on neighbors filing complaints about people illegally renting their apartments.

The new law would impose fines just for advertising units that don’t abide by the laws. The first violations would entail a $1,000 fine, but the third violation, and every violations after that, would cost $7,500. Local state Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who had introduced and fought for the bill, celebrated the signing, saying it would keep housing in the city affordable and safe. Illegal hotels reduce the inventory of apartments available to residents. Some landlords rent out blocks of rooms that are supposed to be used as affordable housing to tourists for short stays, she says.

“Homes are not hotels,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “But Airbnb turns apartment buildings into hotels, with tourists traipsing around at all hours of the day and night, hosting raucous parties, trashing common areas, contributing to vermin and wreaking general havoc in the buildings. This law will help to ensure that permanent residents are protected against the security and other problems created by tourists in their building.”

Airbnb immediately filed suit to overturn the law, which took effect immediately. Airbnb says the law violates a section of the Communications Decency Act, which protects platforms from the activities of their users. But Rosenthal says that Airbnb wouldn’t be punished under the new state law — users who violate the rules would be the ones punished — so she expects the suit to be thrown out.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 20 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      The rent regulation laws that Linda Rosenthal enforces do far more to diminish “affordable housing” than Airbnb ever will.

      It should also be noted that Rosenthal receives large contributions from the hotel industry. Her opposition to Airbnb is not entirely altruistic or grounded in economic reality.

      • Jms says:

        Please keep in mind that many people support this legislation – regular people who live here who have nothing to do with the hotel industry.
        We know many people in buildings in which apartments are being used/”held” for use as Airbnb. And countless concerning experiences with security as strangers are coming in and out, noise, misusing the laundry room, leaving garbage etc

    2. eva says:

      Think about my friend who is 79 years old with Stage IV cancer and only wants to airbnb her apartment once a month for a few nights to help pay the rent so that she can live/die in her own home.

      • Erica says:

        It’s so awful your friend is faced with that, thought it’s not the norm re: Airbnb rentals. Rooms are one thing, whole apartments on a regular basis hurt our housing market which is unlike anything else aside from maybe SF. Plus, safety is a huge issue. If someone is robbed or worse, taped, who is held responsible?

      • bravo says:

        Your friend is 79. Airbnb is a few years old. How was your friend managing before Airbnb?

      • Kevin Schultz says:

        Think about my friend who is 79 years old and doesn’t want strangers in her building.

      • Jay says:

        Tell you what… next time Sven from Copenhagen rents my neighbors apartment from Airbnb, I’ll invite you over and you can see what it is like to sleep with Kraftwerk blasting at 2 Am on a Tuesday morning. You might understand then why people don’t want their homes to become hotels.

    3. Elizabeth Shackelford says:

      I am glad the State is clamping down on this greedy madness. If the hotel industry is funding this opposition to a sleazy and dangerous activity, let me know how I can contribute. Our managing agent, one of the most respected in the city recommended a ban on Airbnb in our building. I am supportive of Rosenthal and the hotel industry.

    4. JensBend says:


    5. Neighbor says:

      Why does the article only mention landlords. My experience is tenants profiteering on their apartments…charging a higher rent to short term rentals when their actual rent according to their lease is far lower.
      Something seems wrong about this practice.

    6. Neighbors says:

      Goof job officers!!!

    7. UpperWEstsider says:

      Air B and B is the preferred office for hookers and drug dealers and the best way to loose control of your building’s safety. In principle a good idea in reality a very bad one. I’ve seen this first hand. Its a total crap shoot.

    8. Jacqueline Brown says:

      This is an excellent law. I live on 97th Street in a multi-dwelling rent stabilized building and tourists have asked “where are the towels”. They could not care less about the quality of life in our development. In addition, these people are total strangers and we have no idea of who they really are.

    9. PedestrianJustice says:

      Enforcement, as always, will be the issue here. Since 2010 it has been illegal to rent out your whole place for fewer than 30 days when you’re not present. And yet, thousands of apartments were rented out.

      • dannyboy says:

        Now Enfrorcement need only monitor ads.

        “The new law would impose fines just for advertising units that don’t abide by the laws.”

    10. Scott says:

      I find it highly ironic that all of these Democrats who don’t want misbehaving strangers invading our homes are the same people who support open borders Hillary and sanctuary cities.

    11. Glen says:

      My coop has had to deal with bedbug infestations on two occasions from the same unit. First time it was the “sister the flight attendant” who must have brought them in; the second was the “college roommate who must have brought them in.” The remediation ran into the thousands of dollar, all of which picked up by the building because of the NYC Heath Code about pests.

    12. B.B. says:

      Well that was quick.

      Ink isn’t even dry yet on Cuomo’s signature and the two main sponsors of the anti-Airbnb bill are already beginning to back track.