Joint Statement from Senator Krueger and NYC Councilmember Williams on Manhattan Housing Court Ruling Against Airbnb Host

Friday, February 20th, 2015

New York – Today, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, and State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), released the following statement afterManhattan Housing Court Judge Jack Stoller ruled against a Manhattan couple who rented out their rent-stabilized apartment on Airbnb for triple the price they paid.

Last month, Council Member Williams chaired an eight-hour oversight hearing titled “Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilizing Neighborhoods” to allow elected officials an opportunity to better gauge the effects of illegal hotels on New York City’s affordable housing stock. The Council received testimony from representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Senator Krueger, tenants, tenant advocates, representatives of home-sharing websites including Airbnb, elected officials and others on how illegal hotels operate and effect New Yorkers.

 

STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS & SENATOR KRUEGER

“With a housing vacancy rate of only 3.12%, steadily increasing rents, and widespread income stagnation, New York City is in a housing crisis. Short-term apartment rental websites like Airbnb account for more than 14,000 illegal rentals in the five boroughs, reducing the number of units available to regular New Yorkers, and making the crisis that much worse. We applaud Judge Stoller for making it clear that using Airbnb to profiteer off of rent-stabilized apartments violates this city’s Rent Regulation Laws.

“Illegal hotels are a fundamental problem not just in New York City, but across the country. As elected officials who have fought to end our city’s affordable housing crisis, we were discouraged by the acknowledgment during a recent city council hearing that illegal hotel platforms such as Airbnb have made no effort to regulate themselves or comply with city and state laws. But Airbnb is not the only culprit. These so-called “sharing” sites put their own profits above the safety and quality of life of our communities, all while encouraging their ‘hosts’ to violate their leases and Rent Regulation laws, putting themselves at risk of eviction.

“We hope to combat such behavior by bolstering and expanding the resources and strategies of city agencies to enforce existing laws and penalize violators, putting those who are converting housing into illegal hotels out of business. Combating the scourge of illegal hotels is a vital part of the broader effort to ensure that the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Plan reaches its 200,000 unit goal, and that New York City remains affordable for all.”

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