My argument is that this is not and has never been true. You can't, for example, run a tannery in your apartment.
What's more, as a resident (and especially if I were an owner) I wouldn't want my building being a de facto hotel. An endless stream of people coming and going, having building keys and so on.
I don't believe this ruling is anything new. I believe short stay (<30 days) like this was always illegal in NYC.
A friend of a friend lives in a building where the super was soldering a pipe and managed to burn the entire building to the ground (gutted the inside that is).
Imagine the scenario if an AirBnBer does this with say a cigarette?
Or what if someone is assaulted by such a person?
Residency laws exist for a reason. Honestly, AirBnB just seems like a massive liability time bomb waiting to go off.
You rightly point out, that, for instance, in a crowded apartment building, having something like a dynamite storage facility would probably be a bad idea.
However, other things might be annoying too, such as having children or pets or noisy sex, so you have to 1) get an idea of the actual costs involved, and not just "well, this could happen", and 2) see if there's a framework where people could regulate/resolve their differences on a more local level. Perhaps in some buildings, people would be ok with some AirBnB traffic if they get a small cut of it. The idea being that the more global the solution, the more likely it's going to be inefficient.
Beyond the neighbors, there would also need to be city taxes to pay for the regulation and oversight of the rental (and fire inspections, etc), and the use of city services by visitors (who probably don't pay income taxes in that city.) Basically, "hotel tax", which in some places is 20% or more and right now you don't pay when using AirBnB.
Not to mention additional liability insurance, as you can bet that the level of risk incurred by someone doing short-term rentals is much higher than a normal homeowner -- so they shouldn't be in the same risk pool.
Having said that, I think the airbnb market in NYC is reasonably close to clearing with the hotel market. Probably some listings for very nice apartments and also some for relatively mediocre apartments are underpriced, but the truth is that a night in a decent airbnb apartment is in general commensurate with the cost of a hotel room in the same neighborhood.
The catch, of course, is that there are many airbnb listings in places without hotel rooms at all - Harlem, the far Upper East Side, etc - and in those areas the airbnb prices appear low but of course we don't know the appropriate hotel room clearing price.
But to your basic point, I agree there's probably some discount right now for the general sense that airbnb is "weird" or "idiosyncratic" to the average traveller.
> the cost of adjusting for the externalities will erase the savings of AirBnB
is false, which is more or less exactly what I’m trying to get at too: it is not unreasonable to expect that AirBnB will continue to be cheaper than hotels even if externalities are priced in.
As for hosts being less dependable, I’m sure that happens, but the few times I’ve used AirBnB, I’ve been quite pleased. By contrast, it seems like more than half the time I check into a hotel, something is amiss or the room isn’t ready by the time it was promised, or ... something. There are exceptional hotels with great customer service, but most hotels are borderline terrible in my experience.
I'm not saying there aren't great deals out there on AirBnB; right now it's a market of people basically selling unused inventory at very low prices. I'm saying that if they had to incur more normal requirements (safety, taxes, insurance), the pricing would rise and the inventory would decline. If that same AirBnB room cost $250, it might not as interesting to you.
(If you're just subletting, only any net gain is taxable, which is probably minor.)
This is not a moral judgment (I'm too old to make moral judgments). Fact is that purely competitive markets suck because there is no money in them (there's no high growth startups in the dairy industry, even with extensive government subsidies to offset the effects of vicious competition). A good fraction of the opportunities to make money are based on things like arbitraging regulations or exploiting market failures. Much of the rest involves focusing on markets with little competition (either because it's new or because others don't have the skills to target them), but I think people underestimate how much activity is in the former bucket. E.g. with AirBnB: are they in business because nobody thought to do what they're doing before, or because people thought about it before but realized it was illegal?
But maybe that is the exception that proves the rule. Or maybe you didn't mean dairy products.
Anyway, I'm not sure 5 of them would really weaken the point you were making.
Let's say all of the restaurants in your neighborhood have to charge extra because of the cost of commercial garbage service. And you start selling food cheaper, because you're putting your garbage into the household trash and passing on the savings. Yes, that's a business, but it's basically just breaking the rules and passing some of the savings on to customers.
Elon states that many forbes list billionaires receive huge amounts of profit from the subsidies (oil, agriculture)
If you have a two family house and "air out" the second apartment, how exactly is that converting externalities into profit?
I'm not sure a densely populated city should really make any objections to externalities.
Not that all these laws make sense for airbnb, but by not respecting them you're "unfairly" undercutting hotels.
I don't. I think that hotels are just pissed because airbnb provides a fairly thin layer of technology that allows property owners and renters to use their property more efficiently (by having it occupied more often) and therefore threatens the very core of their business.
It's the same story with taxi drivers opposing ridesharing services. Does anyone really think that taxi drivers are mad because they're worried that these new services will provide a less safe or comfortable experience to passengers, which is supposedly the point of taxi regulations? Nope. I think they're mad because ridesharing services allow more efficient use of automobiles and therefore threaten the very core of the taxi industry. Any bets on what taxi drivers will think about Google's automated cars when they start offering shuttles for hire?
If we want to talk about externalities, we should at least recognize the possibility (and, I dare say, the near certainty) that many government regulations themselves have considerable negative externalities.
I would prefer that you could, in the (perhaps unlikely) scenario that it was allowed by the terms of your rental agreement. If it's your own property, go right ahead.
> What's more, as a resident (and especially if I were an owner) I wouldn't want my building being a de facto hotel.
Many residents would probably agree, and if enough agree, then there's no reason why the property owner couldn't prohibit the practice in the rental agreements. I live in San Francisco, where airbnb is legal (as far as I know), yet my property owner explicitly prohibits "short term subleasing," effectively banning airbnb rentals. No law or government action required, no criminals made, no taxpayer-funded enforcement, and no problem.
The tannery example is pretty apt here - what right do you have to run a foul smelling eyesore right beside the property where I'm attempting to raise a family?
In other words, when I buy the house next to yours, and from one day to the next, decide to use it to store decaying pig shit in the yard, or manufacture high explosives, all of a sudden, you got something really nasty that you did not choose. It's not as if you chose to move next door knowing full well what goes on in my business. All of a sudden, the value of your house has dropped, and you haven't been compensated for it at all.
I agree that zoning and restrictions should be regulated at a local level so that multiple solutions can arise, but it seems like trying to involve neighbors in contract negotiations becomes quite complicated quickly. The guy 2 houses down has seen his house fall in value too, although maybe not quite so much. The guy 20 houses away might still smell things on a bad day, so he's affected a little bit too, should he be included in negotiations as well?
For example, where I live in Cleveland, there used to be a rule that policeman (and I think most civil servants) had to live inside the city limits to work there. Once they removed the regulation, these workers sold their homes and left. The property value has dropped considerably as a result.
He has every right to do this. Why do you assume that your family is more important than his tannery?
The regulations against things like tannery in an apartment are only there so that you can, when e.g. choosing a place to raise your family, find a place that will suit your requirements. It's like labels on food. You want something without sugar? You go and find something labeled "sugar-free". Regulations are there only to help you choose what you want. You don't look at a sugar drink and then ask "what rights does a food company have to put sugar in my drink when I'm trying to stay on keto?".
If it's just your right against theirs, that is the short path to "direct action", and you cannot have that in a civilized society.
You could also argue that you have the right to operate that tannery of yours but choose not to exercise it out of consideration of the people who will suffer from the stench. That would be the aristocratic viewpoint, argued eloquently by Ernst Jünger in the "Ledge at Masirah".
Either way, there is such a thing of society, and anyone arguing cleanly has to take that into account.
It's like y'all are trying to reinvent practices long derived from observation and common sense. If you don't like a property's zoning, then don't buy it or go through the process to change the zoning.
I'm honestly shocked that people apparently would want to live in the kind of an environment where at any second the property next door could be turned into a tannery. How could anyone have confidence in their property's value in a society where that was allowed?
Nonsense. History is full of true ideas getting pounded flat. Sensationalist journalism is more effective than true journalism. So on and so forth. If "true ideas spread quickly", then religion would be dead in the water, all around the world.
And seriously, hours between doing some tanning and getting arrested for violation of zoning laws!? Zoning law violation rarely ends up in arrests in the first place - you get fined, then if you don't pay your fines, down the track they'll start the process.
That is not the logical complement of what I said. I only said that true ideas tend to spread quickly, which is obviously true. True ideas which were pounded flat are not counterexamples, because I'm talking about tendency.
If the 'trueness' of the idea is irrelevant to how quickly it spreads, as you've just said here, then your statement becomes "Ideas tend to spread quickly, regardless of their truth", which is pointless given the context.
It sounds more like a rhetorical truism than a "true idea". Of course the police enforce the laws, that's what they're there for.
And yet, people frequently dismiss it as a "libertarian meme." One doesn't have to look far on the Internet to find someone that will deny that government enforcement of things like taxation or zoning regulations do not constitute violence.
When you don't pay alimony: violence. When you jaywalk: violence. When you litter: violence. When you wear shorts instead of trunks at the swimming pool: violence...
OK, great, we've established that there is violence everywhere. But what has that brought us? Nothing.
"Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence?redirect=no
"Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing" http://www.answers.com/topic/violence
"exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/violence
And it's interesting to note that none of your definitions allow for natural phenomenon to be violent, yet we quite naturally talk about things like violent storms in English.
Indeed. I am seriously arguing against zoning, or rather, against the necessity and wisdom of government (i.e. violent, compulsory) action to solve this problem.
Its generally not (its illegal in San Francisco to rent a unit for less than thirty days in a residential building with more than four units.) New York and San Francisco are the two US locations that I've seen the most news coverage for AirBnB's legal issues in.
> yet my property owner explicitly prohibits "short term subleasing," effectively banning airbnb rentals. No law or government action required, no criminals made, no taxpayer-funded enforcement, and no problem.
All contracts, and especially lease agreements where the ultimate enforcement action is eviction, depend very much on law, government action, and taxpayer-funded enforcement action.
Its definitional: if you aren't seeking the threat of state enforcement to enforce a set of mutual promises, you don't have a contract, you have a mutual set of promises that lacks the intent necessary to form a contract.
> then that gives justification for that entity to intrude on voluntary actions?
Yes, using the threat of action by other people to get what you want gives those other people a right to a voice in what you can use that threat to support.
> Seems like a logical fallacy to me.
Subjective appearance can say as much about the one seeing as the thing being seen.
> How about we let people transact peacefully and deal with the problems on a case-by-case basis instead of lumping everyone under the same law that allows no room for exploration.
Enforcement of existing laws, civil and criminal, is done on a case-by-case basis by actual people; even if something creates a civil or criminal cause of action, the party (the prosecutorial authority of the state, in criminal cases) with the cause of action may choose not exercise it, and jury nullification is thing, so, largely, what you call for is the status quo.
If you think the specific parameters of the existing law are drawn incorrectly, you probably ought to address your specific problem rather than calling for abstract features that already exist in the current system.
That is one definition, but not the only. And I'm sure there are creative ways to enforce contracts without State force--third-party arbitration could be an option, social pressure, etc. Most contract disputes I've been involved with have been resolved without the need for legal action. There are plenty of social dynamics that come into play.
> Enforcement of existing laws, civil and criminal, is done on a case-by-case basis by actual people; even if something creates a civil or criminal cause of action, the party (the prosecutorial authority of the state, in criminal cases) with the cause of action may choose not exercise it, and jury nullification is thing, so, largely, what you call for is the status quo.
This is true, but I don't think it's working. Looking at the current prison population, something is deeply flawed. Are most jurors even aware of jury nullification?
> If you think the specific parameters of the existing law are drawn incorrectly, you probably ought to address your specific problem rather than calling for abstract features that already exist in the current system.
Yep, this is the problem with services like AirBnB and Uber. It's embraces a purely selfish attitude in individuals with blatant disregard for the rest of the community.
Maybe the right answer is to end the bargain entirely--buy out the medallions and end the monopoly protection, and let everyone compete on a level playing field. But allowing Uber to ignore taxi regulations while still imposing them on the cab companies is not fair.
Indeed. It's an agreement of which Uber and its customers are not members.
Now, on the other hand- I think that lyft would be a better comparison to airbnb. I believe they let users without a taxi license do the same thing as uber.
Using a dwelling for short term rental may be a violation of the covenants upon the deed and may allow someone previously holding title to the land to reclaim it - this is why Home Owner Associations are obligated to enforce the regulations of deed restricted communities and what allows them to impose sanctions against violators.
I once was involved with a waterfront parcel deeded to the city for a park in the 1920's. It was never developed as such and an adjacent property owner - a trauma surgeon - offered to purchase it. I became involved nine years on after the surgeon had tracked down and obtained a quit-claim from all the surviving heirs of the previous owners. That was in 2002 as part of the city's approval of the sale.
Not a AR fan btw, just saying both sides of the fence have their pros and cons. I'd place higher value on an apartment complex that explicitly did not allow short-term renting within their contract.
The other problem is... what's the difference between me using AirBNB and me knowing a friend who let me stayed at his place for 6 days and I just happened to give him some money as a thank you gift?
No one is "forcing" you to spend $300/night in Manhattan for a hotel. You should read that book again because you are also not using "Atlas Shrugged" in a meaningful context.
> Not a AR fan btw, just saying both sides of the fence have their pros and cons. I'd place higher value on an apartment complex that explicitly did not allow short-term renting within their contract.
Laws and regulations around housing are put in place to protect all residents, the landlord, the community, regardless of what Joe the landlord remembered or didn't remember to put into his stock lease.
> The other problem is... what's the difference between me using AirBNB and me knowing a friend who let me stayed at his place for 6 days and I just happened to give him some money as a thank you gift?
And what's the difference between cooking for friends who give you money for groceries and opening a restaurant in your apartment? You can always make an argument that appeals to the extreme in making your case, but thankfully that doesn't make it a legally relevant argument.
Its the difference between an informal, non-contracted exchange of gifts between parties known to each other with an established relationship on the one hand, and a contractual, arms-length agreement between strangers through a third-party intermediary with arms-length contractual relationships with both parties on the other.
As a general rule, in most domains, the latter tends to be subject to greater regulation than the former, both because, as an arms-length agreement, there is greater need for protection from abuse and, as a contractual agreement, it necessarily invokes the threat of state action.
Good luck finding a hotel for cheaper than $200 at least in Manhattan :) And you're right, you're not forced, you're more than welcome to sleep on the public streets.
> Laws and regulations around housing are put in place to protect all residents, the landlord, the community,
To a certain extent this is true, but this does not take away the fact that me selling my house for a few days that I'm gone to someone else should be illegal. You're also assuming that I want to throw out EVERY SINGLE LAW OMGBBQ. Talk about being "extreme." Good gosh Charlie Brown.
> regardless of what Joe the landlord remembered or didn't remember to put into his stock lease.
There's this magical thing called lawyers. They're pretty cool once you get to know them, even the "sharks." Without them, writing contracts would be to hard for my small brain :(
> And what's the difference between cooking for friends who give you money for groceries and opening a restaurant in your apartment? You can always make an argument that appeals to the extreme in making your case, but thankfully that doesn't make it a legally relevant argument.
I'm actually a big advocator of people starting up restaurants in small capacity places (remember, we can be a vegan restaurant with absolutely no use of a stove, only an oven which means a safe, contained, and controlled environment) such as homes and/or "food trucks".
And you were right about the AS comment, good call :) (like I said not an AR fan I was under the presumption that it had to do something with business owners leaving due to all of these rules and leaving the "big guys" to look after everyone).
The other differences between these different transactions, while perfectly valid distinctions, are simply ex post rationalizations made by those who support the entity in power (in this case city hall).
I think it's a shame that most people are too cynical to understand why laws and regulations around food, housing, transportation, etc. exist. Odd in particular that you think preventing underground restaurants has anything to do with protecting the power brokers when there's a big public health case to be made for ensuring that food is prepared in a sanitary environment. I'm guessing you're in favor of a solution that let's people get sick/die and then let the free market enact it's revenge on the restaurant. Good thing we decided to leave that model out with the 20th century.
There is really vibrant underground restaurant industry in Seattle. I don't think people are getting sick/dying in massive numbers. Also, I would favor a solution where a restaurant is held legally (and perhaps criminally) liable if they make a diner sick or die. As it stands now, they can hide behind the health code.
I think it's a shame that most people are too cynical to understand that there are solutions to problems that don't require the use of force.
There's no real efficient way to enforce such a law though, I don't really know for the US but we have many craig-list style websites in France where you can find a place to rent for a week (and avoid AirBnB's fee). AirBnB just made everything simpler, and safe (rating people, profiles, etc...)
One more thing. AirBnB is especially relevent in big cities like New York, Hong Kong, ... where hotels are super expensive and rent as well.
I can understand your desire to have things this way, but as an individual, I see no reason why you would want to force this rule on everyone in your city. If you don't want your neighbors renting their place out, go live in an apartment complex that doesn't allow tenants to do this. If you don't want your tenants doing this, then make it against the terms of your rental agreement.
What business licensing really does is foster a kind of local monopoly, often as a favor to the existing businesses. It's anti-competitive, by making it very difficult to start a business. Most people are completely unaware of these very real motives behind local licensing laws.
It's actually a violation of most standard residential rental agreements; sub-tenancy is often tightly controlled and only permitted with the express permission of the landlord.
Source: my family owns apartment buildings in several different cities.
Renting out units under 30 days is plain and simple illegal as the laws are written.
With that, a much better example would be running a brothel. It is as cut and dry illegal as this is. Both have city laws saying "This is not allowed". The city certainly has more priority in enforcing one over the other mind you.
You can argue all day airbnbing your unit should not be illegal, but it currently is. Lots of people argue prostitution should be legal though as well, so best of luck.
How is the situation different if you have a friend stay over night? What if they house sit for you a couple of days?
The only difference above is they are not paying you, but how does that affect liability?
If by "always illegal" you mean "since two years ago":
> You can't, for example, run a tannery in your apartment
Why not? Whats your argument?
>What's more, as a resident (and especially if I were an owner) I wouldn't want my building being a de facto hotel.
If I owned a building then I set the rules/laws. This is about property rights, not about what you think is right or wrong. If I want to turn my home into a transient hotel then I should have the right to do so. Existing residents should abide by my rules under the current terms of their lease.
>Imagine the scenario if an AirBnBer does this with say a cigarette?
And what if an existing resident did that? Whats your point?
You completely leave out any actual reasoning to support your statements. A very shallow argument.
Because tanning hides requires strong acid and a bunch of other chemicals and it will stink up the building and probably break some kind of regulation for residential spaces. If you happen to be a tanner and you disagree with it, pretend he said "Nuclear reactor" or "shooting range".
He is talking about when you own an apartment, not the whole building.
And even when you own a building you still don't get to "set the rules/laws". There are tons of laws about what you can, and what you cannot do with and in your building. And in some areas, like e.g. Santa Fe IIRC, there can even be rules about what your building should look like.
Given those, starting your response with "your argument is completely shallow and void of reason.." is certainly ironic.
If you want to argue what fundamental rights should or shouldn't be afforded to a property owner, HN probably isn't the place. This stuff has a long and complicated political history, which I humbly encourage you to learn more about.
> Why not? Whats your argument?
Because it smells bad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanning#History
1) First off, most uses in the city have always been against the rules -- it's been a known issue.
2) from TFA: "this law is only actionable as a secondary offense. For example, if the police show up after a noise complaint and then find you renting out your place, only then are you in extra trouble." So it's not going to stop most hosts in their tracks.
3) AFAIK, there is still a small subset of AirBNB rentals that are within the rules -- if you have a 2+ bedroom unit and live there as your primary residence, you are allowed to rent out your second+ bedrooms.
Happy (and eager) to be corrected on any of the above if I have the wrong understanding.
I had a friendly chat last year with someone at Airbnb about them possibly taking the reigns on this, but I don't think anything ever came of it.
It might go a long way towards getting friendlier relations between landlords and Airbnb.
I was really trying to think of ways it affects me as a landlord and property owner. I really don't care what people do in the property as long as it's legal and causes no damage, but I want to be protected and considered as well.
Right now we are just completely cut out of the entire process, and there's little incentive for us to NOT take a hostile stance.
You take a great risk in making even small modifications to existing language without a lawyer review. Writing all new language is even riskier and considerably more expensive.
Since I don't want to spend this money, my default position is I will simply reserve the right to crack down on any Airbnb activities I become aware of.
Airbnb could use their own lawyers to help out with this conundrum and gift the resulting work product to landlords.
That sounds like an excellent idea. You should suggest it to Airbnb (seriously). They have already shown themselves willing to provide legal assistance to users, so they may very well be open to this as well.
So... find a tenant also interested and split the lawyer fees?
And you know what? I'm not sure if they should.
My family has used VRBO ("vacation rental by owner") to rent apartments in Paris, Amsterdam, and Budapest over the last three summers. We loved the experience, and would never even consider going to a hotel in the future, for all of the reasons you can imagine -- we save money, cook our own meals, and feel at "home" in a foreign city. It's a marvelous feeling.
But that marvelous feeling is probably less-than-marvelous for a city's permanent residents. When we stayed in Paris, we were told that short-term rentals there are illegal partly because housing is in short supply, and is thus astronomically expensive. Forbidding short-term rentals, in theory, can increase the pool for annual rentals, thus bringing the cost down. (We were also told that rental law was 100 years old, but was only now going to be enforced. Amusingly, we were also told that the French justice minister lived in our building...)
Plus, I don't know if I would want an apartment in my building to be occupied by new people each week. We have enough trouble with the neighbors we know.
Bottom line, AirBNB is a brilliant idea, and many people clearly love it. But I don't think that they, or we, can expect laws to change immediately to accommodate this new idea. And when the laws do change, we can probably expect them to still impose some restrictions, or even taxes, on the homeowners.
I do agree with you on the constantly new people problem. I recently found out that the reason the front door to my building is broken is because one of our neighbors is a prostitute and the johns were letting themselves in and buzzing random doors to get the second door unlocked. Since we aren't a hotel the burden of safety and security has been placed on her neighbors.
That's completely contrary to how supply and demand would work--if you forbid short-term rentals you move all the short-term demand into the annual market, increasing annual demand, which drives up prices and causes more scarcity.
Since short-term housing can house multiple people each year and annual housing can house only one per year, each new annual housing unit added will be accompanied by multiple new demanders that were previously in the short-term market and could have been all housed in one year by that apartment as a short-term rental. You increase annual supply by one and increase annual demand by more than one--likely by more than half a dozen--and so prices skyrocket as demand outstrips supply and the shortage is exacerbated.
Of course, city governments are not exactly the gold standard of understanding economics when passing housing laws.
Real estate is at an extreme premium and hotel space is scarce. There are a lot of scammers and shady people in this city so its only natural that Airbnb will be abused (I've even been sucked into an Airbnb-based con job in NYC myself).
I think the issue isn't so much that this law is on the books, its that they haven't updated the legislation to accomodate people who rent on Airbnb safely.
Why shouldn't landlords have the right to turn their buildings into Airbnbn hotels? (Assuming that the landlord pays taxes as usual, and the evicted residents were evicted under the rental agreement).
Also hotel safety laws do not exist in a vacuum. AirBnb renters should be properly informed that the building they are entering has passed building inspection codes, but cannot guarantee hotel-level hygiene and fire code safety. Once fully informed, if the renter still chooses AirBnb, it's their call. People can sleep over at their friends' houses, or at strangers' houses without exchange of money anyway - the fact that money does change hands doesn't change the facts about the parties involved.
The only way justification I could see is that if it were not hygienic, there is a chance of a outbreak of a virus happening (but that is no different than the metro or a flea market).
It absolutely matters, and your scenario is a very serious one. Permanent residents know where the fire exits are, and which hallways are dead-ends. Temporary residents may not even be aware which windows open onto a fire escape.
This may be 'net beneficial' economically but I'm pretty sure most of the benefit will ultimately accrue to property owners, not renters.
And of course, although owners may come down hard for liability reasons if they find out about airbnb operations in their buildings, they have every incentive to turn a blind eye: if they can plausibly claim they didn't know and blame the tenant, surely their liability is at least somewhat reduced and in the meanwhile they benefit from rising rental income.
A ellis act lets you kick everyone out of your building with the restriction that you cannot 're-rent' it for 5 years.
Since a 30 day stay is not 'renting' per sf code, unscrupulous landlords have been using BnB sites to profiteer evictions.
That is one of many reasons why its against almost all city/state codes to do this.
I thought about this before- AirBnB and VRBO themselves are not actually committing the 'crime' however they are certainly with knowledge of the use that is happening. As such, I am sure any landlord wronged by either site would have a absolutely fantastic case for tortuous interference to them (AirBnB interfered with the contract between a landlord and tenant)
I think it basically comes down to this. Certain things are illegal, like it or not. Lots of people think prostituion should be legal country wide, like nevada. But its not. Setting up a site to let you sell something that it knows is going to be illegal is riding a extremely fine line.
It reminds me of a old trick used in a terms of service for a filesharing website back in the day. "You agree that by continuing, you have received a written, expressed waiver from warner, nbc, fox, [etc...] to download their content "
The service knows that absolutely nobody has such a warning/waiver but by shifting the blame to the user, they think to be untouchable.
I am not a lawyer though, so what do I know.
Its not that this specific NYC law exists and been upheld, its that there is a whole class of such laws across the West. People will bump into these a lot more.
It's interesting to note that people jump on Goldman for selling shitty financial products too retirement funds and the like, but don't see the potential for abuse with something like crowdfunding. If Goldman can make a killing swindling sophisticated institutional investors, don't you think it'd be child's play for someone to do it to unsophisticated members of the public?
These sorts of laws have the incidental effect of suppressing potentially useful transactions on an individual level, but the point of them is to prevent people from making a business out of abusing the system. E.g. I have noted before that the real point of copyright protections isn't to keep an individual from copying a Windows CD for a friend (probably not going to do a lot of economic damage to Microsoft), but to keep a major Chinese OEM from shipping computers with copied Windows licenses (might do a lot more economic damage). These regulations are similar in that regard. By making them illegal, you keep people from building a large-scale business out of cheating others.
Especially the basic one that most housing space is intended for residency which, by its nature, is less lucrative then short-term renting?
Quite on the contrary, in this case I think that the circumstances here are even pointing towards more regulation and AirBNB is accellerating that.
Conversely, per Airbnb's quote, 87% of the rooms listed on the site are people's own homes of which they rent out a portion, or the whole thing for a limited time they rent out. So these are not people trying to circumvent the tax law (and by all means tax their Airbnb income as a hotel would be), they are just trying to make additional income to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Those 87% were not the target of the law, because this model did not exist at the time.
That regulation might have made sense before GPS enabled smartphones -- especially when said GPS enabled smartphones are the only way to hail an Uber car.
I don't know the reason for banning unlicened hotels, but I imagine that at least one of the examples used were the safety of the cusomers -- that is kinda pointless given that the customer can check out the reviews on AirBNB before he decides to engage in business.
The reason for banning unlicensed hotels is to ensure that there is enough space for actual rent.
It's not absolute, of course, but neither is regulation. No matter what, a few people will do bad things, and a smaller number will get away with it.
It seems like relaxing the laws about these things to see if new models provide better solutions to the old problems might be a good idea.
To be honest, I think there's a huge risk in the airbnb business; hitch-hiking was not only popular but normal for students and young people for decades in the US. Then a couple of people were raped and murdered and fear spread.
It's awful, but I think there's a significant risk for this exact scenario crushing airbnb. Not that it would be common or even likely, but all it would take was once, and the people could even know eachother. The media would pick it up and sensationalize it and the business would go down.
* landlord: I'd have an issue with a high volume of non-tenants coming in and out of my building without permission.
* hotel operator: I'd rather the supply of hotel rooms be limited. The fewer rooms, the more demand for my rooms!
* insurance company: guest of AirBNB guest does something bad and the cost of dealing with it is high. What a mess.
* mayor: publicly I'm against it because hotels fund my election campaigns. Privately, I stay in AirBNB rooms while in vacation because civil service doesn't pay much (albeit it wouldn't surprise to find mayors are rarely broke)
* neighbor: there's too much noise coming from that place down the hall. They are rude and have no vested interest in being nice because they don't live here.
AirBNB is a fabulous service to use and I understand why it has opponents.
I lived in Mount Vernon one summer, and I was confused when people in the city (see, I just did it) said I "lived upstate."
We are actually second-class citizens, the legislature of NY is only for NYC (and the benefits of all the taxes we pay, union dues, etc, at least to hear my father tell it.)
If I had to guess (I used to be in politics), your dad spends a lot of time complaining about property taxes -- I can guarantee those don't leave your municipality.
There's NY, ranked right behind NJ as #49 for second least favorable state business tax climate. That's right. Worse than California for business owners. I have no idea of the legitimacy of this graph, it only took 10 seconds of Googling to find it.
Not saying anything about Upstate vs The City, but my dad has lived in NY for near to his whole life, he's actually from Long Island, and (what do you say next? we have Jewish friends?)
It's easy to say they're federal issues, but NY has reasonably high sales tax and income tax, and yes there is property tax. If you're from New York, you wouldn't argue that we're not highly taxed. I happen to be near enough to the poverty line, recent college graduate, high student loan debt, good payment record, so I only know what they want me to see insofar as taxes go. I fill out TurboTax and usually get most of it back.
I've actually received larger income tax returns than what I paid in total, once or twice, with no plausible explanation other than "Dad paid for it," so you'll have to understand, I am influenced / biased also based on that.
I live in NJ, I work in NY, so I got 49 and 50 going strong here. I can tell you, and you'll have to just trust me on this, business is better here than in Alabama or Arkansas which have much better 'business climates'.
You received higher tax returns than what you paid because of the earned income tax credit, a socialist wealth redistribution scheme to benefit low-income workers that would never pass if today's political conservatives had to vote on it. Your dad and I both helped pay for it.
(This is by where you live)
$Paid $Recd Pop
Capital Region 3.8% 7.0% 4.2%
New York City 45.1% 40.0% 42.9%
Downstate Suburbs 27.4% 17.7% 21.7%
Rest of State 23.8% 35.2% 31.2%
Use two spaces before each line for pre-formatted text.
Label your axes. Provide a reference for the source of your table.
I have no idea if this is sales tax, income tax, or capital gains tax.
Also: "York" is a city in England. It should be apparent that "New York" also refers to a city. "New York State" is the state in which the city of "New York" happens to be.
In NYC, rent control laws are a major factor in the artificial housing shortage. There's a consensus across economists of all stripes that rent control is a bad thing ("the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city -- except for bombing"). See the studies cited here. 
Or maybe I'm confusing zoning regulations with other codes.
The people who run AirBnB simply don't respect the feelings of others and the investors should change management to those who do respect feelings of others.
I spent a few months living in the Haight with a delightful German woman who supported her photography career by renting her spare rooms in a gorgeous clean apartment.
For a while, the arrangement worked out pretty well. That is, until I ran into one of her neighbours in the stairwell. I made friendly conversation with him and he asked if I was staying at her place through AirBnB. I thought nothing of it at the time.
That night, while greeting my "landlady", I told her I met the neighbour. Her heart sank and she chastised me for talking to her neighbours (I had been living at her place for a month or so!). Turns out that many renters agreements in SF prevent the tenant from earning a profit on their rental.
Long story short, the neighbour I spoke to ended up not being so nice to her and is causing significant problems for her. She may lose her rent-controlled apartment (and thus her livelihood) all because I chatted with a neighbour in the stairwell.
Not that that matters. You are basically saying you parked in a firezone while robbing a bank. You are already doing something against the law so the additional methods dont matter much.
That said, this AirBnB host was supporting her (very frugal) lifestyle on the profits from this rental. It hurts to know that I may have played a part in undoing that.
What is happening nationally is that people are creating short-term rentals in areas where the use and occupancy are deemed incompatible by land use regulations and building codes. The AirBnB model is no different than renting migrant workers mini-warehouses for dwelling. It's just that the landlord and tenants transfer the burden of commercial uses and transient lodging onto the surrounding neighborhood.
Disclaimer: I am currently involved in removing a short-term rental from my neighborhood. At several hundred bucks a night, transient lodgers often have few social constraints preventing them from treating the dwelling as a hotel, and normal hotel behaviors spill effect the surrounding neighborhood. The difference being that there is no onsite management and no oversight by local and state regulators as is the case with the formal economy.
The only way I can see around it would be working with individual cities and adapting the service within those cities so that it works better for everyone.
There are many negative externalities caused by AirBnB (personally I wouldn't want my neighbours changing weekly and having access to my building and mailbox) but there are also positive ones (filling vacant properties, boosting the local economy).
When it comes to big cities like New York, Paris, London etc. AirBnb should spend the money to carry out analysis of how the service could work best for everyone and work with local authorities.
But for free standing homes and other buildings for whatever reason choose to allow such a thing, there should be some sort of "bed and breakfast" type rules which govern semi/non-professional letting. Sort of like on Ebay how you can sell up to a certain dollar amount before you have to pay taxes like ordinary retail businesses.
I just went on a european trip and used airbnb. Houseboat in Amsterdam (super awesome place) My "Experience" was wonderful. However, I did feel that the security deposit was unsettling. Their word against mine kind of thing. So it goes. I guess we will just leave the hotel business to the professionals. How did 9flats avoid this?
I think the sharing economy is brilliant and the way of the future. If there's spare capacity in the world, why should it not be utilized. Unsafe? Is it more unsafe to a degree that the ends don't justify the means? I doubt it.
EDIT: The very definition of a hotel - An establishment providing accommodations, meals, and other services for travelers and tourists.
...and for that matter, is feeling like you're living like a poor person a problem? O.o
Living standards isn't something you can rationally argue. I don't care about visitors passing through my neighborhood; I care about the fact that my neighbor is bringing someone new into my neighborhood every weak. I care about the fact that people in NYC can't find a place to live. I care about the fact that even though I live in a safe neighborhood, that can quickly change overnight because that's how fast the people around me can change.
Yes it's personal paranoia but at the same time it's a debate and the residents of NYC are against it but people supporting AirBnB have said nothing but how good it is for travelers.
You may not think so, but I certainly hope laws are made by rational arguments.
It is when you're paying NY rents.
If done safely and ethically, its a fabulous with for consumers.
We've been saying no to AirBnB for years, this isn't anything new. NYC says yes but for some reason the rest of the world thinks we're wrong to choose how we want to live.
This is no different. Your right end where their rights begin, which I'd say start right around where their property lines/walls are.
Your rights does not include the right to constant neighbors. or likable, or any. In the deed you have there is no clause of restricting the mobility of the others. (if there is - this is another thing entirely).
What do you feel grants you the rights you feel you have in this situation?
 according to Airbnb, in the article
Edited for formatting
How do New Yorkers win by having less choice?
I can see the negative side of AirBnB, though that said I just booked a place in Paris because every central hotel under $300/night appears to be booked for next week.
I used to be very trusting of places until I stayed at a university accom during a conference one time. The janitor was up to no good, but we had to leave and no one wanted the trouble of reporting it to front desk.
Of course that is true, but no they can no longer choose to live in places that allow AirBnBing their apartments. Your argument seems more applicable w/r/t contract law. If you don't want those kind of neighbors you can live in places that prohibit AirBnB.
> This is a hotel no matter which way you try and paint it.
How is renting out your apartment 3 weekends a year a hotel? You can currently do that on craigslist, it's just harder to connect buyers and sellers.