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Report Slams Airbnb, Says 3/4 of All NYC Listings Are Illegal

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The epic war that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is waging against short-term rentals site Airbnb has arrived at its next battleground: a massive report (warning: PDF!) issued by the AG, which contends, among many other points, that three-quarters of all listings in New York City are illegal. Other key points, as highlighted by the Times, which had an advance look:

1) One-third of the city's listings come from hosts who are commercial operators, not everyday, well-meaning residents trying to make a few dollars off a spare room. (Airbnb's ubiquitous ad campaign focused on the latter.) To be precise, per NYT, "6 percent of the hosts made 37 percent of the revenue—or $168 million."

2) The benefit to the city is concentrated in Manhattan, where most listings are located. And not the entire borough, but three areas: the Lower East Side and Chinatown; Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen; and Greenwich Village and SoHo.

3) Even though the majority of units were not rented out for six months of the year or more, a solid 2,000 of them are, which means that there are apartments being used as rentals more or less full time that would otherwise be rented out to lease-signing actual residents. The argument is that it dampens NYC's already tight housing supply.

4) All these findings come after combing through data from 497,322 under-30-day stays in 35,354 places. Note that the AG had to pry that data out of Airbnb's cold, unwilling hands. Seems they got some concrete results out of all that effort to get the raw info.

Gothamist excerpted some handy maps and infographics, which can be found in the PDF of the report, below.

Attorney General - Airbnb Report

Unsurprisingly, Airbnb responded that the report was based off incomplete and inconclusive data, but conceded that it is willing to to work towards a solution.

Schneiderman coupled the report's release with a pledge to track down and stamp out the illegal hotels. The study found that a dozen buildings "had 60 percent or more of their units used as rentals for at least half the year, 'suggesting that the buildings were operating as de facto hotels,' the report says."
· Airbnb and the city [official report; PDF!]
· Airbnb Listings Mostly Illegal, New York State Contends [NYT]
· All Airbnb coverage [Curbed]