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Illegal Airbnb listings in NYC will now incur hefty fines

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Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law that will impose fines up to $7,500 on users who advertise illegal short-term rentals

Governor Cuomo has signed into law a bill that will impose fines up to $7,500 for people who advertise illegal short-term rentals on Airbnb. In New York state, it’s illegal to advertise a vacant apartment on Airbnb in a multiple-welling building for 30 or fewer days. The AP notes that residents who rent spare bedrooms, or own row houses or single-family homes are exempt from the law.

The bill passed the New York State Legislature in June after first being proposed by State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal in December. The bill indicates that first-time offenders will be fined $1,000, but a third infraction would be a more costly $7,500.

Airbnb has maintained that the hotel industry is partly behind the war on the short-term rental site. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) celebrated the new law, issuing the following statement: “This legislation is an important step toward stopping illegal behavior that takes precious housing units off the market, threatens hotel workers’ jobs and hurts the quality of life for residents in our City’s multifamily buildings.”

In September, Airbnb responded to the bill by calling it an a violation of First Amendment rights and a way to illegally regulate web content beyond state borders. At the same time, Airbnb launched an ad campaign that focused on how the income they gained from the room-sharing site positively affects their life.

UPDATE: Shortly after Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law, Airbnb filed a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claiming their constitutional rights had been violated, The Real Deal reports. In their civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan’s Southern District Court, the San Francisco-based company says, “It is an unjustifiable content-based restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment.”