New York City has effectively deemed the vacation rental website Airbnb illegal with a finding that a man there broke the law by renting out his apartment through the service. A judge arbitrating the case for the city's Environmental Control Board declared that using Airbnb violated New York's illegal hotel law, reported The Verge news site. That law prevents citizens from renting out their properties for less than 29 days -- a law established to stop landlords from turning residences into hotels.
According to CNET, the administrative law judge's May 10 decision -- fining New Yorker Nigel Warren $2,400 for violation of the hotel law -- doesn't necessarily mean that citizens with active Airbnb listings should close shop: The law is only actionable as a secondary offense. In other words, the city will only enforce the rule if a complaint is filed. Warren had faced a $7,000 fine for violating building and zoning codes in addition to hosting guests in his condo via Airbnb, and CNET added that it's not clear why Warren was investigated, but he did have a housemate at the time of the renter's stay.
Airbnb told CNET in a statement that it was not happy with the city's decision saying that the illegal hotel law shouldn't be applied to "occasional hosts" like Warren, who are not trying to run illegal hotels in their homes but are simply "trying to make ends meet." In fact, Airbnb argued that the online service "supports the city's desire to preserve living accommodations because it allows tenant the ability to bolster their income and pay rent."
Currently, there are over 1,000 listings available in New York City through Airbnb, Business Insider reports. Airbnb said it will continue the fight to ensure that New Yorkers are able to occasionally rent out their homes.
See more about rental rules:
Tenants of Manhattan Complex Irate Over Mid-Lease Rent Hikes
When You Can Force Your Landlord To Listen To You
Tenants' Rights in Eviction: When Do Landlords Go Too Far?
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