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City Council seeks additional $2M for anti-Airbnb crackdowns

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City Council speaker Corey Johnson is calling upon Mayor de Blasio to increase funding for the Office of Special Enforcement

City Council speaker Corey Johnson is calling upon Mayor Bill de Blasio to infuse an additional $2 million into the city’s budget proposal to fund crackdowns on illegal short-term home listings on sites like Airbnb, reports Crain’s.

In a response to the mayor’s budget proposal, Johnson notes that the additional $2 million would “add approximately 20 new staff and allow the Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) to take a more proactive approach to enforcement.” If the request is granted, the move would nearly double the staff of the OSE, who is responsible for enforcing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-Airbnb legislation and issuing fines. The law imposes fines up to $7,500 on Airbnb users who advertise illegal short-term rentals.

The legislation, passed in 2016, has proven to be an arduous task to enforce. Last year, a Crain’s report found that at the city’s current rate of enforcement, it would take the OSE 43 years to get around to all of the Airbnb listings that are in violation of the law.

Earlier this month, a Manhattan couple was hit with a $1 million fine for illegally listing at least seven units within several Manhattan buildings and in December, a Lower East Side landlord had to shell out $1.2 million in fines, the city’s largest settlement in a case regarding illegal hotels.