The judge initially ruled that the apartment rental site violated New York’s illegal hotel law (a 2010 ban on New Yorkers renting apartments for less than 29 days). The case involved Nigel Warren, a New York host, and his landlord, who were both fined for renting out his room in a Times Square condo to a Russian tourist via the popular website.
Airbnb provided a lawyer for Nigel and spent the last several months appealing the case. On September 27th, the New York City Environmental Control Board reversed Nigel’s fines, making the service legal once again.
The ruling states that as long as a permanent occupant is present during the stay, it does not violate short term rental laws, which were created in 2010 to prevent landlords from turning their buildings into illegal hotels. The implication for apartments with one resident is unclear, however.
“This episode highlights how complicated the New York law is, and it took far too long for Nigel to be vindicated,” said an Aribnb spokesperson, “That is why we are continuing our work to clarify the law and ensure New Yorkers can share their homes and their city with travelers from around the world.”
This is great news for Greenpointers (and all New Yorkers) who use the site to find travelers in need of a room, so that they don’t loose piles of rent money every time they leave for the weekend.
As Airbnb so wisely stated after the initial ruling, “87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in–they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.”
The message is clear: If you’re in the illegal hotel business, use Craigslist.
And if you’re in need of a little Greenpoint staycation, look no further than this “Cozy Fort in Classic Artist’s Loft. It’s actually a weird little cubbie hole with a slide attached, but for $60 bucks a night, it’s probably cheaper than a dirty roadside Super 8 in Jersey …we’ll take it.