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Short-Term Rental Ban in New York City – Frequently Asked Questions

April 1, 2011

This law will apply to all residential buildings in New York City, correct?

– It will apply to many but not all residential buildings in New York City.
– This law will make it illegal to rent Class A Multiple Dwelling units (which include condominium as well as coop units) for less than thirty days within New York City
– You can contact your architect or lawyer (alternatively the department of buildings) to help you determine whether or not your property will be affected by this legislation.
– The full text of the legislation can be accessed via the following link: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6873B-2009

This law will only be enforced against landlords who have turned their residential building into an illegal hotel/hostel, right?

– The law as written is very broad and it would be reckless to speculate who the law will (or will not) be enforced against.
– Enforcement will be complaint-based and by and large fueled by calls to 311 (New York City’s phone number for government information and non-emergency services).
– These calls to 311 could be made by anyone (a disgruntled neighbor, guest, competitor etc.).
– The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement will be charged with investigating the complaints.
– The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement is currently responsible for coordinating enforcement efforts across New York City to address quality of issues related to notorious adult use, lawless clubs and trademark counterfeiting bazaars.

But the co-sponsors of this legislation have implied that it is not going to be enforced against small property owners who occasionally rent their apartment for less than thirty days? [1]

– As co-sponsor Liz Krueger herself admitted in an interview in the summer of 2010, “the role of the legislature is limited to passing this legislation and not the enforcement of its provisions.” [2]

Why did the New York legislature choose to ban short-term accommodations as opposed to regulating them and elected to forego the tax revenues collected by short-term rental property and B&B establishment’s owners etc.?

– We do not know but it might be a good question to ask your local representative.

Please stay tuned for updates as the day of implementation approaches.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome.

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[1] http://beta.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2010/jul/08/illegal-hotel-crackdown/
[1] http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/10-questions-for-krueger-and-gottfried-on-illegal-hotel-bill

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8 Comments
  1. WRONG ADVISE

    It is LEGAL to rent out a room in your NYC apartment for NO less then 7 days and the law does NOT apply to renting our the entire apartment for 30 days or more.

    And if you are going to tell them to contact the DOB to give them advice, they will not get it. Most of the employees are ignorant to the law and the DOB is a mess.

    Here is what they need to know via my own experience:

    Pursuant to the NYC Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) Article 7; Section 248, we are allowed to rent out one of our Lofts because both Lofts are considered to be a single PRIMARY RESIDENCE, which enables us to live in one while renting the other. This is similar to a person renting a room in his apartment as described under MDL Sect. 248 (NO tenant is prohibited from renting out their ENTIRE apartment for 30 days or more (sub-leasing)).

    “This section shall not be construed to prohibit the letting by a family of one or more rooms within their apartment to not more than a total of four boarders, roomers or lodgers

    However, MDL Sect. 248 requires us to rent out the Loft for NO less then 7 days.

    “16. It shall be unlawful to rent any room in any such dwelling for a period of less than a week.”

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/MDW/7/2-A/248

    However, we have a unique situation that other renters do NOT. Our building, which we own, is classified as a 5C building “Converted Dwelling and Rooming House” and the Loft we are renting is registered with the New York City Loft Board as “Commercial”, which allows us to run it as a business not residential. Thus, we are allowed to rent out the Loft as a Bed-n-Breakfast as long as the Certificate of Registration is filed with the Dept. of Taxation and sales taxes are collected and paid ($2 per room plus 5.875% sales tax).

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/downloads/pdf/payment_operations/htx_certificate_of_registration.pdf

    Many, if not most of the other apartments being rented in NYC do not meet the above requirements to make them a legal rental, which can subject the tenant to huge fines and a visit from the NYC Enforcement Agency while you are in the apartment.

    Is this fair? NO. This is why there is a new bill currently pending in NY that will allow ALL tenants of class A MDLs to rent out their apartments for less then 30 days without jumping hopes as long as they collect and pay the sales taxes:

    http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4263C-2011

    THEREFORE, when you rent from us, you know that you are obtaining a legal rental.

  2. Has anyone received a violation for renting a room in their apartment? I can’t understand how the city/neighbor/landlord can distinguish between visiting friends and relatives and paying guests. If I know a neighbor is complaining about ‘strange people’ in the building-what is my recourse?

    • It is their burden to prove. If you rent to someone from out of town, they will have a difficult time proving it. Especially if there is no proof of a payment. The key element is the payment. If you get cash…bingo.

      There are over 12,000 NYC apartments for rent on AIRBNB. People are REBELLING and IGNORING the government’s overreaching laws. People are tired of the Government and their many laws that restrict our lives and freedom while the government increases our costs then prevents us from being able to earn money to better our lives. Their laws and increased fees are depleting our quality of life.

      The more the Government overreaches and charges us, the more the People will rebel and ignore their laws. Unfortunately, the people are taking these laws as a big joke.

  3. Frank McConnell permalink

    I received a violation over the summer for “occupancy contrary to that allowed by C of O – 2-family dwelling converted to transient use”

    This was for a 2-family house in Queens, based on a neighbor complaint and the inspector speaking to the tenant who indicated “he is only here for a visit of a few weeks or months” and
    the inspector also claimed he saw a person arriving with luggage. The inspector admitted that there
    was nothing illegal about the house in and of itself, but that the violation was based entirely on
    that he believed it was being rented out on a short-term basis for a few days or weeks at a time, and that this is illegal in a 2-family house, being contrary to the C of O.

    In the first place, I thought I was allowed to rent a 2-family house out short term, but in any case at the hearing I presented a lease for 6 weeks along with the argument that since the lease was for over 30 days, it could not legally even be considered transient use in the first place and the case should be dismissed…

    However, I was found guilty, and now I wonder if the city can just decide whatever it wants, irrespective of the law?

    I plan to appeal since it seems to me the decision was improper… Can anyone comment on this?

    • Dear Frank,

      Please let us know of both your experience and the outcome of your case, as this may be interesting to everyone else fighting the ban.

      • Frank McConnell permalink

        To update you, the outcome was that I lost the appeal on my case.
        I was given minimal explanation, something along the lines of
        ‘upon review, the court determined the judges ruling stands, and
        the inspectors claims seem credible’
        I then paid a fine, of I think around $2,000, maybe a little less.

        The inspector at the hearing blatantly lied and made up a story to make
        his argument sound convincing to the judge.

        This isn’t the first time that I’ve been at a court hearing where the inspector blatantly
        lied to make his case sound reasonable, so I’m convinced this is standard procedure
        for them, and under oath. I find it disgusting that this is what they resort to, in order to
        drum up revenue for the city.

        Sorry to report bad news, but it is what it is.

  4. Brian permalink

    They did it because of the the major hotel lobbyists…

    • Well, the problem is that thousands of apartment owners are ignoring the ridiculous law. The government is just going to far. This is ridiculous. People need to be allowed to earn extra money to make a better life for themselves.

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