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Who is getting hurt by the ban on vacation rentals in New York City?

September 9, 2010

Second in the series of testimonials: Laura’s story

In an interview given to Brian Lehrer on July 8 2010, Richard Gottfried when asked what is wrong with letting singers, actors and others rent their apartments when away on gigs, evaded the issue by raising trivial or irrelevant distinctions and objections[1].

Gottfried claimed among other things that allowing individuals to rent apartments for less than thirty days damages the residential nature of the building and that short-term renters differ from long-term renters insofar “[they] do not ordinarily care as much about security and building upkeep.”[2]

If this was the true concern behind this new legislation then why not implement clear limitations on and regulations for short-term rentals?  For instance, a homeowner or permanent resident’s right to rent for less than thirty days could be limited to x number of times per year.

Gottfried justified prohibiting rentals of less than thirty days based on issues of noises and other nuisances but he has yet to distinguish these violations from individuals who rent for longer time period (i.e. for more than thirty days).

Furthermore, he argued that the agency charged with enforcing the new legislation (New York City Department of Buildings) was not interested in cracking down on musicians and other performers for occasionally renting their apartment to tourists but on landlords who turn large segments of their buildings into an illegal hotel.

How come then was the legislation drafted as broadly as to render unlawful all rentals of less than thirty days?

Artists, performers and others will be driven out of the City if they can no longer rent out their apartments when away for work.

Please listen to the testimony of an actress who has been subletting her apartment when she leaves town for performances.

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[1] http://beta.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2010/jul/08/illegal-hotel-crackdown/
[2] “For your neighbors, it means a parade of strangers coming in and out.  People who do not ordinarily care as much about security and building upkeep. Noise late at night. The City has stricter fire and building codes for hotel operations. It can make trying to leave peacefully in a building a real nightmare and there are reasons why we have zoning laws that separate factories and office buildings from residential buildings.  This is a very similar issue.” Ibid.

2 Comments
  1. Sam permalink

    Hey guys, i would like to know if I could get some contact info. I’m a renter in the city and feel this ban is yet more gov’t intrusion which is harming us, esp. during these hard economic times. Why kill a cash cow like this at this time? Not only was I getting a little extra income, I was bringing tourists into the city who spent THOUSANDS and was putting people to work in renovating my apts. The building wasn’t in worse shape for these tourists (as Gottfried says) on the contrary, the building was beautified to ATTRACT more tourists. And this noise, nuisance, and fire safety crap is pure BS. How is a person there for 7 days any more hazardous than a person there for 30 days, or 30 years? Silly nonsense.

    Anyway, I have some questions, and maybe some helpful tips of getting around these laws. And a question about the actual enforcement of the new law which doesn’t seem to exist.

  2. Ann permalink

    As an owner of a beautiful second home in Washington State, we could see the wisdom of renting our home when we could not be there and the many benefits it brought to the community, as well as out of town family vacationers. Unfortunately, we were smeared for doing so, and the county over rode their actual existing permitted code and denied us our property right to rent our home for less than 30 days. In doing so, we were no longer able to enjoy our own property, the county essentially forcing us to rent our home long-term. Complaints from distant neighbors included, they didn’t like the idea that a home in their town was pictured for world wide viewing on the web. Nearby neighbors did not appreciate having to see a different color car inside our driveway or garage every week, and did not feel that “strangers” should be allowed to drive or walk through their neighborhood (on public roadways), and tried to prove that our septic system would fail, causing their individual wells to be polluted. How can this be called common sense? When I asked our next door neighbor if noise was a problem, he said no. He simply did not like the idea of renters.

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