Avid Airbnb hosts beware: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law this Friday that bans New Yorkers from renting out their abodes on home-sharing websites for less than 30 days. Rule-breakers can face fines of up to $7,500 USD, more specifically: $1,000 USD for your first offense, $5,000 USD for the next one, and $7,500 USD after that wallet-burning number. Apparently, the state legislature approved the measure in June and the bill was collecting dust on Cuomo’s desk for months. Since then, Airbnb started a campaign to help convince the governor to veto the bill before its deadline in October 29.
“This is an issue that was given careful, deliberate consideration, but ultimately these activities are already expressly prohibited by law,” Cuomo spokesperson Richard Azzopardi said, as per The New York Daily News. Having added: “They also compromise efforts to maintain and promote affordable housing by allowing those units to be used as unregulated hotels, and deny communities significant revenue from uncollected taxes, the cost of which is ultimately borne by local taxpayers.”
Airbnb’s head of public policy in New York, Josh Meltzer, retorted: “In typical fashion, Albany back-room dealing rewarded a special interest — the price-gouging hotel industry — and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.A majority of New Yorkers have embraced home sharing, and we will continue to fight for a smart policy solution that works for the people, not the powerful.”
Airbnb also surmises that the bill infringes on the first and fourth amendments of the U.S. constitution as well as the Federal Communications Decency Act. All in all, the newly passed law is definitely a huge blow against the company and its counterparts—especially in a major city such as New York that has generated $632 million USD for Airbnb in just one year.
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