Bill Introduced to Kill Airbnb in NYC, Allows City to Demand Any Information on Hosts

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Thursday, June 7th, 2018, 5:28 PM PERMALINK

Today, New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera, along with 35 co-sponsors, introduced legislation that would crush Airbnb and the over $500 million worth of economic activity the platform has helped bring to New York.

The bill, Intro 981, is not simply overregulation. It’s not just going to add costs and inconvenience, it is an attempt to kill Airbnb and home-sharing outright. This is governing in bad faith.

Despite news getting out about the measure weeks ago, the full reality of what is in this proposal is more horrific than expected.

The bill would force Airbnb to send the city’s Office of Special Enforcement information on users and listings. That means the address of the unit, the name and address of the host, every transaction (whether direct or indirect payment), individualized information for every listing for a unit, and whether the whole unit or part is being used.

Oh, and it also says the Mayor can order that this information be provided to any agency, and that the agency can also get any other information they want by rule.

So this bill opens the door to all city agencies getting any information on an Airbnb user that they want. There are 35 Council Members who endorse this invasive power grab.

The Office of Special Enforcement has already been over-aggressive in enforcing existing laws, forcing law-abiding hosts to pay big legal fees to fight off summonses.

Now city authorities will have more power to go after hosts.

The massive new fines in the bill range from $5,000 to $25,000 for any inability on the part of Airbnb to provide information owed to the city. Again, information that includes anything the agency decides it wants. These costs could ramp up very quickly.

The state’s ban on rentals under 30-days was already a shameless move to outlaw Airbnb’s business model, hosts are already at risk of massive fines. The state passed the sentence, now the city is carrying out the execution.

It’s all being pushed through based on weak arguments, cooked-up stats, and outright lies - done to serve hotels that pull strings at City Hall, and contributed $100,000 to in city elections.

This is government by flunkies for the special interests. City government has been coopted to destroy a competitor and that should scare every New Yorker.

Photo Credit: HBarrison, Flickr

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