Is it illegal to use AirBnB in New York?

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AirBnB, the worldwide leader in short-term rentals, where home / apartment owners rent out their lodging to visitors, has suffered a major set back as new laws passed effectively made it illegal to use AirBnB in New York for stays for shorter than 30 days.

There are a few caveats though, in essence the new laws are designed to avoid landlords and homeowners by running illegal hotel businesses. The ban also excludes the renting of entire homes or row houses (terrace houses as we would call them in Australia).

It’s illegal to use AirBnB in New York for stays for shorter than 30 days

The new law, passed in October 2016, prohibits apartment owners from renting out their property for less than 30 days without being present. Which in essence is exactly what tourists visiting a foreign country use AirBnB for and forms a major part of their marketing campaigns.

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Following the ruling AirBnB hosts can still offer to house visitors in New York however in apartment buildings of 4 apartments of more they are limited to renting out individual rooms, couches or other shared living areas – without the risk of being fined.

What it means for Australians travelling to New York

Currently AirBnB still lists options for New York apartments which are generally limited to single rooms within apartments, couches and other small rooms within an existing dwelling, which you will most likely have to share with someone.

Can I be fined for using AirBnB in New York?

As an Australian visiting New York if you do happen to find and secure an apartment via AirBnB, and it isn’t cancelled before your stay, you as the renter will not be liable for any fees or action from local authorities. That being said, you may end up finding that your accommodation is no longer available, and finding last minute accommodation in New York can be tough (and very expensive) even in the quieter months.

One option for Australian travellers, if they are keen to reduce their lodging costs as much as possible, is to consider staying across the Hudson River in New Jersey. At time of writing New Jersey (as a state) had taken a much more lenient approach to AirBNB and short-term rentals in general. In two of Manhattan’s biggest neighbours, Jersey City and Newark, the local councils have actually legislated approval for short-term rentals, making AirBNB legal but also working to increase their own coffers by ensuring owners collect state taxes.

Jase is the founder and editor of VisitingNewYork.com.au. His passion for New York runs deep, after purchasing a New York travel guide while in high school, it's been a love affair ever since. Having visited over 20 times for work and pleasure he decided to start VisitingNewYork.com.au to help other Aussie's who are planning their own New York adventure to ensure they get the most out of their trip to the greatest city in the world.

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