NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some New York City leaders are pushing for tougher regulations on Airbnb and other home-sharing sites.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, there’s growing concern the rentals are contributing to the city’s affordable housing crisis.
Aspiring entrepreneur Joy Williams said renting out her property on Airbnb is helping her fulfill career dreams while being able to keep her Harlem townhouse.
“That helped me to actually fully pay my mortgage and pay additional money to invest in working on my own company,” she told Sanchez.
City Council member Carlina Rivera says not everyone has good intentions like Williams. That’s why she’s introducing legislation requiring home-sharing sites like Airbnb to provide the city with identities and addresses of all rental hosts.
“It is mandating reporting. It is about transparency,” she said.
It would also hold greedy landlords accountable for turning their affordable housing units into short term rentals so they can cash-in online.
The legislation would target landlords like Big Apple Management. The city is currently suing the company for turning several buildings on West 47th Street into illegal hotels through Airbnb and other platforms.
Chris Lebron lives in one of the buildings and hopes the proposed law will cut down on revolving neighbors.
“We’ve had people from all around the world and all over the country walking into our buildings. Our sense of security has completely disappeared,” he said.
Some Airbnb hosts have their own security concerns about being forced to turn over their personal information. They’re also worried the mayor’s office of special enforcement will unfairly go after property owners who follow the rules.
“I think they need oversight over that. I think they need someone to have checks and balances. Because, as we see now, when the office of special enforcement got their walking orders, there’s no one checking and balancing them,” said Lee Thomas, of the Home Sharing Association of America.
Rivera says she is calling for a public hearing to address everyone’s concerns.
If the bill passes, she believes it would bring tens of thousands of affordable units back into the housing roll.