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MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

April 29, 2019

S4899-A Skoufis, Harckham, Thomas; in the Housing, Construction & Community


Development Committee

A6392-A Lentol, Dickens, Peoples-Stokes, D'Urso, Crouch, Schimminger, Cook, Jones,


Arroyo, Goodell, Johns; in the Housing Committee

AN ACT to amend the multiple dwelling law, the multiple residence law and the tax law, in
relation to the regulation of short-term rental units; and to amend chapter 161 of the laws of
1970, relating to enabling any city having a population of one million or more to impose and
collect taxes on the occupancy of hotel rooms in such city, in relation to authorizing any city
agency administering certain taxes to enter into voluntary agreements to permit the collection
and remittance of such taxes
This bill amounts to consumer fraud. It claims to create a framework for regulating short-term rentals,
when in fact it is carefully constructed to avoid regulation, freeing Airbnb and other online platforms
to continue their conversion of residential rental apartments to illegal hotels.

Airbnb’s biggest domestic market is New York City, and the lion’s share of its profits come from
illegal hotels. This cash-flush organization has spent millions of dollars, including suing the City, to
avoid providing data to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement that would enable OSE to crack
down on illegal hotels. Now Airbnb is spending its ill-gained profits in an attempt to insert itself into
behind-closed-doors negotiations over changes to the rent and coop conversion laws.

Airbnb’s plans for its Initial Public Offering are stymied by the fact that its operations in its biggest
U.S. market violate the law.

S4899-A/A6392-A is intended to legalize currently illegal short-term rentals, to the everlasting


detriment to the City of New York. The new amendment to disallow short-term rentals in rent-
stabilized apartments (already illegal) is meaningless without enforcement, and without the data
necessary for enforcement. The bill specifically says that hosting platforms “shall not have the
obligation to disclose any listing or host-level information if the disclosure could reasonably lead to the
identification of a specific property or short-term rental host.” This means that Airbnb and others don’t
ever have to provide any data that would identify a host breaking the law, so there’s no way anyone
would ever get caught. It legalizes Airbnb’s hiding illegal rentals in plain sight.

This “Airbnb Dream Bill” must be defeated. And legislators who care about affordable housing and
tenants’ rights must make absolutely certain that Airbnb does not succeed in its “stealth and cash”
efforts to win its legislative goals. This would result in a destruction of affordable housing in New
York City. And this amended bill would now export this horror to the rest of the state.
For more information, please contact Michael McKee at (917) 669-2977; mmckee@tenantspac.org
or Pete Nagy at (516) 983-1041 or pnagy@nycommunities.org