More than half of the New York City listings on Airbnb violate the new law banning advertisements for short-term rentals on the home-sharing website, according to a new analysis released on Friday.
An analysis by data research firm ValuePenguin, 57 percent of Airbnb's NYC listings are for short-term rentals for entire apartments. As of last week, it's illegal to advertise entire apartments on Airbnb for rentals that are less than 30 days. It was already illegal to rent entire apartments on Airbnb for less than 30 days (although this happened anyway).
Violators can be fined up to $7,500 for flouting the new law on multiple occasions—fines for first- and second-time offenders are $1,000 and $5,000 respectively—and lawmakers said the law is intended to target large-scale illegal hotel operators who are taking apartments off the market, not tenants who occasionally rent out their own homes.
ValuePenguin's analysis found that gentrifying neighborhoods are rife with illegal listings—according to the site, East Williamsburg has 314 full apartment listings that could net upwards of $2 million in fines, and there are 214 illegal listings in Gramercy, Greenwich Village, and the East Village that could net an additional $1.6 million in fines.
Avkash Kana, an Airbnb host who recently advertised his East Harlem apartment on the site, told the Post he was "outraged" he may have to pay steep fines before attracting a single tenant.
"I haven't even done anything, and according to these laws I've already done something illegal," he said. "So how does that work? If I post something on a blog and mention Airbnb, are you going to say that's illegal and has to be taken down? These laws are a complete violation of our freedom of speech."
The new regulations are complaint-based, meaning officials from the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement will only be made aware of lawbreakers that are reported to them by residents. The OSE won't be combing through Airbnb's listings to find potential violators, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has said the OSE "weren't set up to pick off individual tenants."