The popular website allows people to advertise or rent rooms for short periods of time, usually just a few days, for a fraction of the cost of a standard hotel room. The site has become popular with thrifty international tourists and travelers, and has been used to lease rooms and homes throughout Hudson County.
But in some cities there have been questions regarding whether these short-term rentals violate local hotel laws and other ordinances designed to distinguish hotels from apartments.
In a case that was closely followed by users of AirBnB in Hudson County, the landlord of New York City resident Nigel Warren was initially fined $2,400 for being in violation of that city’s short-term rental laws after Warren subleased a room in his apartment to a renter through AirBnB. Warren ended up paying the fine on behalf of the landlord. Under New York City law, it is generally illegal to rent an apartment for a period of less than a month.
Warren appealed the fine. AirBnB represented Warren in his appeal.
Last week, the New York City Environmental Control Board revered the $2,400 fine, ruling that these laws were originally put in place to discourage large property owners from running de facto hotels by renting out their apartments for short periods of time. The board further ruled that the city’s short-term rentals laws are not violated by AirBnB rentals, so long as a permanent resident of the home is present during the traveler’s stay.
In a statement issued last week, AirBnB Global Public Policy Director David Hantman said the company will continue to work to clarify this and similar local laws that may put its users in jeopardy.
The Reporter was notified of this ruling by a Jersey City resident who lives in the Beacon who recently rented out a room in his condo while he was away in Europe.
To read the Hudson Reporter story on AirBnB, see links below. – E. Assata Wright