Why Airbnb is Illegal in New York City

The fight for free enterprise between companies such as Airbnb and Hotels and Landlords has been in the news for a while. There is no Airbnb Law per se so what makes Airbnb and similar business models illegal in New York City?

Short term leasing is prohibited by New York Multiple Dwelling Law Sec 4(8)(a). A ‘Multiple Dwelling’ is a home rented within a residence with three or more families dwelling independently of each other. Such a dwelling can only be occupied by the same natural person or family for 30 consecutive days or more. However you may allow a non-paying guest to occupy your residence for less than 30 days if they are a non-paying guest.

According to the New York Housing a Maintenance Code 27-2004(14), an apartment is single dwelling unit meant for a single family with lawful sanitary and kitchen facilities for the exclusive use of that family. Under HMC 27-2004(4), a family is a single person with not more than two borders; OR two more persons related by blood, adoption, legal guardianship, marriage, or domestic partnership maintaining a household with not more than two borders; OR not more than three unrelated persons. Furthermore, pursuant to HMC 27-2078, a family may rent to no more than two borders, roomers or lodgers.

When is Airbnb illegal when you are home at the time of rental, which lasts less than 30 days, and the guests don’t number three or more?

When a Rent Stabilized Tenant is profiting off the rental. The Rent Stabilization Code prohibits Rent Stabilized Tenants from profiteering off their apartment by Subleasing

When you are creating a liability for other tenants and ultimately the landlord.

Why should landlords care if they get their rent anyway?

The New York City Department of Buildings and Environmental Control Board will issue violations and fines to a landlord if it finds that the short-term leasing law has been violated. Ignorance is not a defense!

Do not confuse these rules with the tenant’s right to have a roomate.

If you are Landlord faced with the need to evict a tenant for violating the short term leasing law or a tenant facing eviction for violating those laws, Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. can represent you.