In favor of narrowing the scope of NYC Vacation Rental Ban? Join a trade association : Introducing StayNYC
On March 21, 2012, we sat down with Vinessa Milando, the President of the non-profit trade association StayNYC. Read her interview below to find out about the goals and aspirations of StayNYC and the significant impact the Short-Term Rental Ban (“Chapter 225 of 2010”) has had on small businesses in New York City.
Q: What is StayNYC?
A: “Stay NYC is a non-profit trade association made up of NYC Bed and Breakfast owners all of whom are registered with the City of New York as small facility operators.”
Q: What are StayNYC’s goals?
A: “We are advocating for an exemption to this state law for a specific class of small facilities operators. Our members are all compliant with state and city sales tax, occupancy tax and hotel tax. We are working to educate NYC residents and legislators alike to the important role B&B’s play in New York City’s hospitality industry. We believe that we are unintended targets of Chapter 225, a New York City housing law passed in 2010 and regulating rentals in the city for less than 30 days and we are confident that by working with our officials we can attain our goal to remain viable legal and successful.”
Q: How many members does StayNYC have?
A: “We have less than 10 members.”
Q: What is the profile of a StayNYC’s typical member?
A: “The majority of our members have been in business for over 2 decades and have an average of only 5 rooms. We are typical small businesses, many of whom are women and minority owned. This is our livelihood. Unlike the targets of the law, our buildings are not mixed-use properties, where tenants may have safety concerns. Our very small buildings are exclusively used as bed and breakfasts. We are very proud of our established clientele who return year after year for visits to our neighborhoods. In line with the city’s “Just Ask the Locals” campaign, we provide friendly personalized service, support other small neighborhood businesses, and are welcome in the fabric of our communities.”
Q: Can anyone become a member of StayNYC?
A: “One of the reasons we are such a small association is because of our stringent requirements for membership. We do pay monthly dues. Specific information on membership can be found on StayNYC website:
1. Our members are registered NYC small facilities operators; on our certificate of authority it says Bed and Breakfast. We collect and remit hotel tax.
2. All members pay State and City sales tax and required Occupancy taxes.
3. We exclusively use our small buildings as a Bed and Breakfast.
4. Our members own on average only 5 rooms.
5. None of our buildings contains rent-regulated units, none are termed affordable housing.”
Q: Does StayNYC organize conferences and workshops? Or plan to?
A: “We have not had the time to organize any conferences or workshops at this point. Our singular focus is to gain an exemption and remain in business. We have built a grassroots campaign using social media and we have an online petition, which I urge everyone to sign. We also have a StayNYC Facebook page where interest is growing daily, as well as a popular StayNYC Twitter profile. We are meeting with the NYC legislators, NY Assembly and the NY State Senate to explain our issue and work with them to achieve our goal.”
Q: Any other information or specific messages you would like to convey to the readers of Protect Vacation Rentals?
A: “StayNYC members combined to infuse over $4 Million into the local economy in 2010 through daily expenditures by guests and city and state taxes! Our members belong to Professional Association of Innkeepers (PAII) and to National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). We are vital small businesses that have survived and thrived after 9/11 and the recent economic crises. We provide a safe, unique alternative to the visitors of New York City, many of whom are artists or families who choose not to stay in a hotel for a variety of reasons. Several of our members have become targets of the mayor’s special task force; we have legal fees and astronomical DOB fines to deal with. This law has devastated our businesses and we are asking for your support. Please sign our petition to ask for an exemption of the Chapter 225 of the 2010 state law on less than 30-day rental and consider a donation. Your support can help keep small businesses alive.”
For information about the association and to order flyers to spread the word about StayNYC , please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, read our article to learn more about the advantages of joining a trade association in the fight against the NYC short term rental ban.