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Federal judge blocks new NYC law aimed at short-term rentals (but they are still illegal)

By Stephon
Jan. 3, 2019


New York brownstone, Cosby Show

Brownstones in West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

There have been some new developments today on a story that we’ve been watching closely for the past few months. Today a federal judge blocked a law passed in New York City last summer that targeted home rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO. The law, Int. 981-A, was signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in August of 2018. The new law was passed as a way to enforce an existing state law that makes short-term rentals illegal when the primary resident is not present. The federal judge blocked the new law based on a lawsuit brought by Airbnb and HomeAway, two of the largest short-term home rental platforms. The suit that argued the law violated their users constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure that are protected under the Fourth Amendment. The law would require short term rental platforms to send data of all hosting activity within NYC to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. New York, like many other cities with expensive housing costs, has been cracking down on short-term rental platforms, which they view as exacerbating existing housing affordability issues. If the judge’s ruling is upheld on appeal, it is not yet clear what it will mean for the dozens of other American cities that have recently passed laws aimed at regulating these platforms. It should be noted that while the law requiring platforms to provide data to NYC has been blocked for now, the practice of short-term rentals without a primary resident on premises is still illegal in New York.

Stephon Owens is the Founder and CEO of Vezpuchi.

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