JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Steve Fulop announced Monday that rather than fight Airbnb, Jersey City will embrace it and regulate it.
With its proximity to New York City, Jersey City has become a popular spot for home-sharing apps such as Airbnb. Under an agreement with Jersey City, the company has agreed to charge users the same 6 percent hospitality tax guests at the city’s hotels pay.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, supporters said there are many benefits from subsidizing rents to bringing more tourists to the area.
“I think ultimately it will add another million dollars to Jersey City taxpayers’ benefits, and it will make it easier for us to enforce bad actors,” Fulop told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “And it’ll have us recognizing the fact that technology changes the world, and this is here to stay.”
The agreement limits rentals to 30 days.
Fulop told 1010 WINS the move will lead to more people visiting Jersey City.
“That ultimately would be a benefit to our restaurants, businesses and our local economy overall and our residents from a taxpayer’s standpoint,” he said. “So I personally think this is a win-win-win across the board.”
Sherrie Vamose listed her apartment for rent on Airbnb for $50 any night of the week.
“I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in this neighborhood and go to school,” she said.
What has been an unregulated side business is now being embraced by Jersey City’s Mayor Stephen Fulop.
“First in the Tri-State Area, big believer. Can’t fight technology whether it’s Uber, bike share, music industry, and in this case Airbnb. It’s happening in every city so residents might as well accrue some benefit,” Fulop said.
When you open the Airbnb App it says there are already 1,000 plus homes for rent in Jersey City. Renters told CBS2 that if they have to pay a hotel tax they’ll simply raise their fee.
“It’s still worth it because you can control your prices with Airbnb,” Vamose said.
Demand is high and Vamose said her second room is full almost every day of the week, but others have concerns.
Jessica Rizzolo suspects her neighbors are renting out their apartment with new people in and our every weekend.
“For safety reasons I don’t think it’s the best option because you have random people coming through your living space,” Rizzolo said.
“It’s your space, your apartment, all people have been respectful,” Vamose said.
Mayor Fulop pointed out that rentals may not be allowed ine very building, and tenants must abide by other contracts that bind them such as leases, condo boards, and co-ops.
Airbnb has been legalized in dozens of cities except New York, where homeowners can rent a room but are required to remain on the premises.