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AirBnB and the State of the Law

Berdon Press Release
10.28.2015 | Berdon Alerts
Here’s a quick look at key issues raised at last week’s AirBnB seminar presented by Borah Goldstein, P.C. attorneys Craig Notte and Todd Nahins at an event sponsored by Berdon LLP, ClickPay, and Signature Bank. Borah Goldstein, P.C. was at the forefront of a recent ruling in New York that was the first to order the eviction of a rent-stabilized tenant using the apartment as a hotel via AirBnB.

Maury Golbert, CPA, J.D., LL.M., Real Estate Partner, Berdon LLP

  • AirBnB, the $25.5 billion company that pioneered the home-sharing platform, has more than a million short-term rental listings, in 34,000 cities, including about 27,000 apartments in New York City.
  • Travelers who use AirBnB do not fully understand the implications of their actions on the economy; nor do they realize that AirBnB is illegal in New York City.

Craig Notte, Esq., Borah Goldstein, P.C.

  • 72% of New York City AirBnB listings are illegal; many of these illegal listings are reported by other building tenants who resent “transient tourists” in their buildings.
  • A number of laws come into play regarding multiple dwellings with permanent or transient occupants, including the New York City Fire Code, Multiple Dwelling Law, Building Code, Housing Maintenance Code, Rent Stabilization Law, and more.

Todd Nahins, Esq., Borah Goldstein, P.C.

  • There are many ways to prove the commercialization of an apartment. Some of the more mundane examples include a check in/ check out date; providing amenities such as shampoo, hair dryer, soaps; and providing city maps and coupons to area attractions.
  • Illegal rentals are discovered in many ways, including reports by permanent residents, reports by the building superintendent or doorman, surveillance videos, and sting operations where city investigators pose as tourists.
  • Violations of the law can result in steep fines as well as eviction from rent-stabilized apartments. There were 1,100 inspections which resulted in 550 violations to landlord where fines were assessed.

Paul Babakitis, PGB Executive Investigations

  • It is important that those wishing to prove illegal rentals with an investigator to create the “preponderance of credible evidence” that includes both an investigative and administrative trail.