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NYC’s Airbnb hosts could be required to register with mayor’s office under proposed bill

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The City Council is expected to propose new legislation that would allow for more regulation on short-term rental sites

The New York City Council is in the process of crafting new legislation that aims to further the city’s crackdown on Airbnb.

According to Politico, the Council is expected to roll out a bill within the next month that would require hosts on short-term rental sites to provide the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement with addresses for their listings, as well as provide their full names and primary addresses, making it easier for the city to identify hosts that are operating illegal hotels instead of renting out their own homes.

“Airbnb has refused to disclose data on their illegal listings, even when they’ve been subpoenaed by the city and questioned under oath by the Council,” City Council speaker Corey Johnson told Politico in a statement. “So we’re taking action to do what they have failed to do—protect affordable housing from shady operators.”

City Council lawyers have yet to determine the potential penalties that could be levied against Airbnb hosts that fail to provide the mayor’s office with the required information. In addition to disclosing their full names and addresses, hosts could be required to disclose whether they are renting their entire home or just a room and reveal if the property is their primary residence.

Airbnb is already planning to oppose the legislation, noting that the forthcoming City Council bill is just another tactic to please the lobbying hotel industry and frighten “honest working New Yorkers,” reports Politico.

“All across the city, we have heard from dozens of families who are sharing their home to make ends meet—and who have faced harassment either from special investigators funded by the big hotel industry or the Office of Special Enforcement itself,” said Josh Meltzer, head of Northeast policy at Airbnb, in a statement.

“We have expressed willingness to work with lawmakers to safeguard the safety and privacy of these regular New Yorkers. But until there is an honest attempt by lawmakers to delineate the tens of thousands of hosts who are responsibly sharing their space and the few bad actors who take advantage of the system, we remain committed to pushing back against any legislation that solely aims to frighten hardworking New Yorkers.”

Earlier this month, City comptroller Scott Stringer released a report pinned the blame for rent spikes within tourists and gentrifying neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Airbnb. Stringer’s report has been called into question not only by Airbnb itself, but by the data source used for much of the report’s findings, AirDNA.