Airbnb might brag that it's beloved by New Yorkers, but it certainly doesn't appear to have fans among their elected officials. Yesterday the ubiquitous vacation rental site was taken to task by City Council members who argued that the company is a money-grubbing corporation that compromises tenants' safety, endangers an already limited housing stock, and flouts state law. Airbnb admitted that it might do those all those things, but doesn't that mean the laws should be changed? Maybe! Will they? Probably not, but stay tuned!

Appearing before the City Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings was David Hantman, Airbnb's Head of Global Public Policy. Councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Helen Rosenthal and Robert Cornegy criticized the company—which has about 25,000 active Airbnb units per day citywide—for failing to disclose data on renters who break the state's Multiple-Dwelling Law, which prohibits tenants from using illegal hotels for under 30 days unless the tenant rents out a room and is present the entire time.

One of the Council's major complaints was that landlords were using Airbnb to take vacant apartments off the market, and though Hantman argued that about 87 percent of Airbnb's users were renting out their own homes for short stays, he was unable to provide any solid data to back his contentions.

"The greatest problem is the threat to tenants by owners who hope to vacate as many units as possible, or even entire buildings, to then be used as transient, illegal hotels,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said in a statement. “Over the years I, my staff, and my fellow Manhattan elected officials have all encountered cases where landlords harassed tenants or refused to renew leases, all in an attempt to clear out units for more lucrative use as illegal hotel rooms. We have even seen cases where a landlord’s use of an apartment as an illegal hotel room functioned as a harassment tactic aimed at neighboring tenants.”

And even renters offering up their own residences could be violating the law. "We ask every host to obey the law and obey their lease," Hantman said, noting that the site does offer a pop-up disclaimer alerting tenants to the Multiple-Dwelling law. But Airbnb doesn't look into whether registered hosts are adhering to the law, something Williams took issue with.

"Why are you not paying attention to legality?" Williams asked Hantman. "Your primary focus has been the quality of stay. You don't even do research to see if hosts are following the law."

Airbnb's position is that the law should be changed. "You should be allowed to rent your own home whenever you want," Hantman said, calling the typical Airbnb host someone "who just needs to pay the bills" by handing over their apartment for a couple of weeks a year.

But of course, as the Council pointed out, the law is still the law, and Airbnb is allowing renters to risk eviction while shirking responsibility and reaping profits. And though the Council acknowledged the room for a grey area with renters who are sporadically renting their own homes out, councilmembers argued that they can't address that without solid data regarding registered hosts and the frequency with which they rent out spaces. And regulations still need to be in place, even if the law is amended: "If I lived in a building that said you can't have parties, loud crazy parties, and I said, you know I'm going to have parties on a weekly basis, crazy loud parties, I'm going to use my apartment as a commercial space because I need a little extra money to pay my rent, no one would put up with that," Councilmember Corey Johnson said.

Airbnb wasn't the City Council's only enemy yesterday—the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement took a verbal beating as well, with councilmembers arguing that the outfit was understaffed and unable to proactively address illegal hotel violations. The OSE, which regulates a handful of "quality of life" issues like stores that sell counterfeit merchandise and illegal hotels, says they received 1,150 complaints related to illegal hotels in 2014, resulting in 883 inspections and several hundred issued safety-related violations.

But the Council voiced concern that that number was too low, noting that, among other things, it takes an already overwhelmed OSE at least 24 hours to respond to a 311 notice. Investigators are also unable to enter a residence without permission from a tenant or landlord, thereby making it difficult to catch a rowdy illegal hotel in the act.

"You're a complaint-ridden office that responded to 1,100 complaints last year, all I'm asking is that the administration...enhance your team and your capacity so that you're in a comfortable place to go after the 14,000 units operating illegally in the city, wreaking havoc," councilmember Rosenthal said.

The administration notes that that though the OSE has not necessarily added any new staff, technological innovations have enabled the office to handle an increase in caseload. And for now, like all quality of life-related 311 reports, illegal hotels will still be handled on a complaint-driven basis.

"We have a strong enforcement apparatus to pursue complaints of illegal hotel activity. When we have a bad actor putting people’s safety at risk, we’re going to go after them," mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell told us in a statement.

Still, tenants say they're not being heard. Outside the hearing, anti-Airbnb advocates rallied for more oversight. Audrey Smaltz, an elderly rent-stabilized tenant at 15 West 55th Street, said only seven permanent tenants remain in her building, with her landlord ignoring requests for necessary repairs in favor of gut renovations on apartments functioning as illegal hotels.

"My friends and neighbors are being replaced by strangers and tourists," she said.

Shahid Ahmed, a Sunnyside resident, told us, "How can you stay in your apartment with someone you don’t know next door? You don’t know if somebody is carrying some disease. You don’t somebody is a terrorist or not. You don’t know nothing about them."

But while Airbnb and illegal hotels might be a struggle for some, others testified that it was a necessary source of income that helped supplement insane rents, and a few hundred hosts showed up to offer support. "I was really surprised by the results that we’ve been having," Elizabeth Hunte, a 9 year resident of East Flatbush, and Airbnb host for a year, told us. "People are coming, they’re having a good time, they’re coming back."

Additional reporting by Rabi Abonour