Judge Dismisses Airbnb Lawsuit Over Local Law 18 Enforcement
A state Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Airbnb against New York City over what Airbnb called “extreme and oppressive” restrictions and a “de facto ban” on listings of less than 30 days [Airbnb, Inc v. NYC Mayor’s Office of Special Enf’t, August 2023]. Judge Arlene Bluth said the city had acted within its authority and that it was “inherently rational” for it to require hosts to register with a local agency in its attempt to crack down on listings operating illegally.
Airbnb brought the suit in June over the enforcement of Local Law 18, an ordinance that would require owners to register with the mayor’s office, disclose the names of all residents who live in the property, and pledge to comply with separate zoning, construction, and maintenance ordinances. “Nearly every commercial activity in New York is governed by a set of rules,” Judge Bluth wrote in her decision. She highlighted the fact that the regulations merely required Airbnb to verify potential listings to ensure their legality.
The judge’s ruling clears the way for the city to begin enforcing Local Law 18. Starting Sept. 5, the city will begin enforcing rules that require all eligible short-term rental hosts to be registered with the city, or have Class B status, to continue hosting short-term rental stays. It’s important to note that the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement has made it clear that tenants in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments, rent-controlled apartments, and rent-stabilized apartments are not eligible for short-term rental registration.
In addition, Local Law 18 also requires registration requests to be denied for buildings on a prohibited buildings list, which will be created by owners who notify OSE that short-term rentals are not allowed in their buildings. To be included on the prohibited buildings list, a building owner must certify that leases and other occupancy agreements for dwelling units within their buildings prohibit short-term rentals. The online application for placement on the prohibited buildings list can be found on the short-term registration portal at https://strr-portal.ose.nyc.gov/s/.