The idea of using the Airbnb system to make a few extra dollars with that spare room you have sounds like a great one, but it does have some snags in the state of New York. Before you sign up for Airbnb to be a host, you should do your research and make sure that you are not breaking the law. The New York State Attorney General recently announced that most Airbnb hosts in New York are breaking the law, and you do not want to make it onto that list.
What Is Airbnb?
Airbnb is a smartphone app that travelers use to reserve spaces in homes that decide to be hosts. The two parties agree on a price and how long the rental will be for, and then the entire transaction takes place online. Airbnb has rules in place to protect hosts and travelers, but Airbnb makes no promises that subletting part of your living space is legal where you are. New York State has some laws that exclude certain people from legally offering their space as hosts for Airbnb travelers.
Your Apartment Building
If you live in an apartment building in New York with three or more apartments, then you might think renting out your spare bedroom through the Airbnb system is a great idea. The problem is that in New York, any space rented out in a building with three or more apartments can only be rented out for 30 days at a time, and that includes your spare bedroom. If your Airbnb clients are staying for less than 30 days, then you are breaking the law.
Income Adjusted Apartments
There are some instances where apartment dwellers can rent out their extra rooms to Airbnb clients, but the cruel twist is that anyone living in income-adjusted housing cannot rent out their rooms. If you live in an apartment, or even a house, where rent is controlled by the government, then you cannot host Airbnb clients. Government-controlled spaces have very strict no-subletting clauses in their leases and you would be violating the law if you accepted Airbnb clients.
The State Is Watching
If it is illegal for you to host Airbnb travelers, then you should know that New York State is watching and will fine you $1,000 for every listing you have on Airbnb and every advertisement you have to bring in more Airbnb travelers. If you are just realizing that it is illegal for you to host travelers, then you should take down all of your advertising and get off the Airbnb system immediately.
The idea of making an income off of your available living space sounds great, but there are plenty of ways that the Airbnb system could be illegal in New York. Before you decide to join Airbnb and advertise yourself as a host, you should make sure that you are not violating any of the laws in New York that directly apply to the Airbnb situation.