Your next trip to New York City might be a lot more expensive, thanks to the latest idiotic law local politicians have come up with. The administration of Mayor Eric Adams is advancing a registration law that would crack down on Airbnbs and enforce existing-but-not-enforced laws requiring that only parts of homes where the owner resides can be listed on Airbnb—meaning you can’t rent out an entire unit you own via Airbnb.
There are so many problems with this it’s hard to know where to start.
For one, it’s just wrong on principle. The owners of these properties own them. They should be able to do as they see fit with them so long as they are not hurting anyone else.
What’s more, this is going to send Airbnb prices soaring and hurt both tourists and the countless parts of New York City’s economy that depend on them. City officials admit that this will lead to roughly 10,000 Airbnb listings disappearing from the market. That’s about 25% of all Airbnbs available in the city! It’s just basic economics that when you drastically restrict supply, prices will soar. This will not only discourage tourism by raising costs but also make New York less desirable a destination by restricting your ability to get a unit to yourself.
“The City is set to enact a law that would drastically affect the ability of New York Hosts to continue sharing their homes,” Airbnb warns. “As a result, short-term rental accommodations for travelers like you will be dramatically reduced to hotels and a shared room with no locks.”
So, it’s not just property owners who will suffer, but everyone from retail employees to pizza shops to hotdog stand owners, who all rely enormously on tourists to pay their bills. As the company says, “This will restrict travel options outside popular tourism areas and hurt small businesses throughout the city.”
City officials argue that this measure will help address the housing crisis by making more units available for residential rentals. But not all these Airbnbs will be converted to regular rental housing. For example, many are occupied seasonally by their owners and can’t be rented out like normal, so they’ll just sit empty half the year. Great job, Mayor Adams!
More importantly, Airbnbs are not the reason the rent in New York City is so damn high. Not even close.
To address the rental crisis, New York City must eliminate the labyrinth of regulations and policies that make the construction and supply of new housing so difficult, expensive, and unprofitable. Until they do that, the housing crisis will continue, no matter how difficult they make life for Airbnb hosts and tourists.
The policy will fail to accomplish its goals while hurting New Yorkers. As one fed-up Brooklyn Airbnb host put it, “It’s the kind of despicable, bureaucratic act that makes me want to move out of this once great city.”
How many more residents have to flee New York before its leaders realize that they keep making things worse?