NYC Outlaws Airbnb, Will DC Follow Suit?

  • May 22nd 2013

by Shilpi Paul

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NYC Outlaws Airbnb, Will DC Follow Suit?: Figure 1
An Airbnb rental in New York City.

A recent court ruling made Airbnb illegal in New York City. Is DC next?

The precedent-setting ruling came in the case of Nigel Warren, who had been renting out his bedroom, part of a two-bedroom East Village apartment, to Airbnb users. The city caught wind of it, and charged Warren with breaking the law.

Earlier this month, Warren and Airbnb representatives tried to make a case for themselves at a hearing. They found language in city law that they felt allowed short-term renters to stay in an apartment like Warren’s, The New York Times reported.

The city laws in question are a bit unclear and can be hard to interpret, making it difficult for hosts to know if they are in violation. However, Warren seems to have broken at least one law, cited by The Times here, which states that it is illegal for someone to rent out portions of their home or apartment for a short time unless they are living in the residence during the same time period.

The judge handed down his decision on Monday, and ruled against Warren, who was fined $2,400 and, presumably, cannot rent out his room anymore.

The ruling makes clear that many people using the website are probably breaking city laws, particularly hosts who are renters themselves. The tricky part is that Airbnb itself is not doing anything illegal; it is simply setting up its users to break the law.

The business, valued at $2.5 billion, will now start issuing a more explicit warning to those who sign up to be an Airbnb host, making it clear that many cities may deem the practice illegal, or have certain requirements, like acquiring permits, that must be completed before renting out a room.

Now that one of Airbnb’s largest markets has deemed renting out rooms through the site illegal, does this harken the ultimate demise of Airbnb? Will users simply flout the law or will hosts acquire the pricey permits necessary to participate?

Readers, do you think DC will now crack down on Airbnb? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section.

See other articles related to: airbnb, airbnb illegal

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/nyc_outlaws_airbnb._will_dc_follow_suit/7101.

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