NYC Is Cracking Down on “Illegal Airbnbs” — Here’s What You Need to Know

published Sep 11, 2023
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And just like that, Carrie Bradshaw and Aidan aren’t the only New Yorkers who are in trouble for using an illegal Airbnb. In fact, it seems a whole bunch of city dwellers (and guests, for that matter) are now facing the newly enforced restrictions on the popular booking site. 

Last week, the city began enforcing new rules that restrict the ability of residents to rent out their homes on Airbnb — a move that’s expected to result in thousands of listings being taken off the platform, the New York Times reported

On New York City’s Office of Special Enforcement’s website, it states that the initial phase of Local Law 18, which kicked into action on September 5, “will focus on collaborating with the booking platforms to ensure they are using the city’s verification system, that all verifications are occurring correctly, and that the platforms stop processing unverified transactions.”

Simply put, the new restrictions will force hosts who want to rent out their properties for less than 30 days to complete a registration with the city. Hosts also need to be present in the home during the rental, which won’t fly with many guests who are looking to avoid the owners during their stay. Another restriction is on the number of guests allowed — no more than two guests at a time. Airbnb, Vrbo,, and other companies must make sure that a host’s registration application has been approved, the Times continued.

As for the cause of the new rules, there has been a bevy of complaints from residents for a variety of reasons, ranging from messy lobbies to a lack of community due to a constant revolving door of temporary guests. Some people claim it brought increased crime and noise to otherwise peaceful communities. 

The statement also noted that the Short-Term Rental Registration Law also requires OSE to maintain a list of Prohibited Buildings. The list will be comprised of properties where short-term rentals aren’t allowed whatsoever. The people who own properties in those buildings will also be permitted to reach out to OSE and report illegal short-term rentals that are being used in their buildings.

The Wall Street Journal reported that there are about 38,500 Airbnb listings in New York City. That doesn’t count the hotels that use the platform, according to a legal filing.

Airbnb isn’t very pleased with the crackdown, however. Representatives told the New York Times earlier this year that it’s basically a “de facto ban.” Back in July, a city official claimed that more than half of Airbnb’s 2002 net revenue off short-term rentals (a whopping $85 million!) came from illegal activity. For the record, Airbnb claims the figure is not accurate, the NYT said.

These regulations have been a long time coming, however. In July of last year, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration filed a lawsuit to shut down an illegal Airbnb in the Manhattan neighborhood of Turtle Bay.