New York’s anti-Airbnb law is completely justified


New York recently has passed a new law on Airbnb rentals, or short-term housing, within the state. This new law prohibits people from listing out apartments with the popular homestay service for less than thirty days. The law also forces such people from listing more than one property under their name.

This new law has outraged many Airbnb users. They see it as intruding on the way to earn a little extra money on the side. The law also has enraged many who use the service as a means of living while on trips such as vacations, as it forces them to abandon the more affordable option of Airbnb, and instead use hotels with much higher rent costs. These concerns are vary valid and could harm future users of the service.

Here’s the catch, though. The state of New York had very valid reasoning behind its decision. The decision does negatively impact future prospects of the service within the state. However, this isn’t just some scandal that is trying to force everyone into New York hotels. For there is a malicious side to Airbnb. For although the service does good for many people, Airbnb and many others choose to ignore the real truth behind this deal: That some users are exploiting the service for their own personal gain. And Airbnb isn’t even batting an eye.

So who are these users that are doing supposedly malicious things with this supposedly innocent service? Well, they have a very familiar and ominous name that we all have come to fear: con-artists. These con-artists like to lease out multiple apartments across cities for short periods of time. Then, when they have accumulated enough apartments or houses to qualify as an extra shady hotel chain, they put them up on Airbnb, which allows them to rake in substantial profits.

Now on paper, although it sounds as sketchy as a shadow covered figure in a back alley, it doesn’t sound that bad. Sure, con-artists are taking leases on houses and apartments that should go to people who need living space, but at least that doesn’t really affect most people. That presumption is undoubtedly false. Such practices cause the housing market in the area to crash, since because of the new lack of apartments/houses, rents for such places start to skyrocket past any affordable price. This situation is exactly like one in Marfa, Texas, a city in Texas that’s a short drive away from Austin. Short term rentals for Airbnbs have caused a crisis in their affordable housing. According to a Slate article from Feb. 13, 2014 on this issue, prices for affordable housing median in the area rose by about 84% between the years 2000 and 2009. Keep in mind that Airbnb has only been around since 2008. Such a massive price hike in that short of a time is both unthinkable and incredibly damaging.

So it is not only reasonable for the state of New York to create and enforce this law, but it is absolutely necessary. Rent within New York City is already incredibly pricey on its own. If such a problem as the one that Marfa, Texas had were to happen within the city, the entire area’s housing market could collapse. If only Airbnb knew about these shady listings beforehand. Unless, they already did.

According to a report from the New York Attorney General in 2014, over 75% of Airbnb hosts are illegal, with a decent chunk of those illegal listings being from the previously mentioned con-artist chains. Instead of Airbnb taking down those illegal locations, the company did nothing. Evidence from that same report even show that Airbnb knew about the illegality of these listings. They stayed up anyways, and to top it all off, Airbnb gets a cut from all the rent income from each of their listings. This essentially means that Airbnb knowingly profited off of illegal activity.

Airbnb also knows for a fact that these listings will damage their profits if they get cracked down upon. The company is currently suing the state of New York, which in turn has caused the new law to not yet be enforced in the state. This is just further evidence of the purely greed-driven vision of the company.

Now Airbnb isn’t a bad product. It provides much cheaper opportunities for temporary living spaces, which makes it a net positive for anyone traveling across the world. But until the company stops giving into the greedy tendencies that it claims that its rival of hotels love to do, and gives up the illegal activity that destroy local housing markets, Airbnb should face the consequences it deserves, whether it be through the responsible consumer or state law.