New York has long been a money spinner for AirBnB. In January 2023 there were 38,500 listings. As in so many cities the boom in short-term lets coincided with an increasing squeeze on the normal rental market, exacerbating housing problems. It’s a familiar story, starting with people renting out a spare bedroom, serious investors sniffing an opportunity, buying up apartments and gaining high returns, other residents protesting about noisy strangers, loss of more affordable housing, council moves to regulate, then the industry fighting such moves through the courts, suing the city authorities while predicting doom for the local tourism industry.
The new rules came into effect in September 2023. Hosts must register, live in the property they are renting and be present, and have no more than two guests. AirBnB has called it a “de facto ban”.
The immediate impact has been a dramatic slump in listings on sites like AirBnB. Owners have shunned the registration process; only some 2% have been registered since it became mandatory. But these now illegal businesses are instead advertising on social media and lesser known platforms.
There would seem to be parallels to the situation in Edinburgh, where despite legal resistance from the short-term lets industry, registration eventually became a requirement on 1 October 2023, but most of the businesses have not sought to register. Will they now re-emerge on these other platforms?