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 August 9, 2023

Judge dismisses Airbnb complaint against New York City

A judge in New York City has dismissed complaints brought against the city by Airbnb and local hosts. The lawsuits sought to have the city's regulations around short-term rentals loosened.

"New York City’s short-term rental rules are a blow to its tourism economy and the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses in the outer boroughs who rely on home sharing and tourism dollars to help make ends meet,” Theo Yedinsky, the global policy director for Airbnb, said in a Tuesday statement obtained by the Washington Examiner.

In 2022, the city of New York approved an ordinance that required owners of Airbnbs and other short-term rentals to register their homes with the mayor's office. The bill also imposed further limitations.

Despite the fact that the New York Supreme Court pushed back the effective date of the provisions to September 5, Airbnb's legal team has not given up on trying to overturn the regulations.

“The city is sending a clear message to millions of potential visitors who will now have fewer accommodation options when they visit New York City: you are not welcome," Yedinsky said.

Booking firms such as Airbnb, Vrbo,, and others, along with others, will have less than thirty days to file with the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement in accordance with the new criteria, which will become effective this fall.

In June, the rental company brought two lawsuits against the city, alleging that the summer months represent a "surge capacity" in which hotel rooms in New York are fully booked and that the policy will make it impossible for individuals who are visiting the city to find accommodations that meet their needs.

More than 80,000 Airbnb guests whose stays are scheduled to begin on or after September 5 would be impacted by this restriction, according to the company.

Judge Arlene P. Bluth of the Supreme Court wrote in her opinion that the requirement to comply with a registration system does not constitute a "overly onerous obligation" to the corporation or the hosts. According to her, such a technology will be able to assist in the identification of many unlawful short-term rentals prior to their listing on the Airbnb network.

“To be sure, these rules will likely not be perfect,” she added. “But it addresses a problem raised by OSE (New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement) and avoids a key obstacle — enforcing the ban on illegal short-term rentals.

“Taken together, these features of the registration scheme appear intended to drive the short-term rental trade out of New York City once and for all,” Airbnb said in June. The company said the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement “failed to consider reasonable alternatives.”

Airbnb lawyer Debbie Greenberger, said in a statement that her clients were "disappointed" by the judgement since the city's regulations "go after regular New Yorkers instead of illegal hotel operators."

The three Airbnb hosts who sued the city in a separate lawsuit were also disappointed by the decision. To "afford to live in this increasingly unaffordable city," she argued, "city officials should allow Airbnb hosts to rent out their own homes on a short-term basis."

On September 5th, the city is slated to begin implementing the ordinance. The city's law department was contacted for comment on the judge's decision.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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