Pro-Airbnb bill draws flak from New York politicians, Democrats

by Anna Sobrevinas09 May 2017
Less than a week after a pro-Airbnb bill was proposed by a New York assemblyman, public and private groups alike joined forces to oppose the proposition.

Share Better, a union-backed group of Democrats against the online rental marketplace, has been formed in resistance to the bill, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Housing advocates say that with more and more apartments being designated as short-term rentals, it’s getting more difficult for lower-income renters to find homes.

“Short-term rentals, like those supported by Airbnb, pose a threat to our neighborhoods,” Assemblyman Walter Mosley said in a statement. “When thousands of apartments across our city are designated as short-term rentals, there are fewer affordable housing apartments for families that need them. It should not be easier for people to turn apartments into de facto hotels, and instead, the Assembly should be looking at ways to make our neighborhoods affordable in the long term.”

The group also collected tweets from public officials against the bill.

Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres tweeted: “NOT GOING TO HAPPEN @Airbnb. We see thru your scam & oppose your bill to repeal affordable housing protections,” while Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick tweeted: “Saw clip of @Airbnb flak trying 2 sound reasonable but ignores their platform is seriously undermining housing for New Yorkers.”

The bill, proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn), aims to amend a 2010 law that limits how Airbnb hosts could rent their properties.

Currently, the law makes it illegal to rent a home for less than 30 days if the owner is not present.

“This is just a bunch of hotel industry brouhaha meant to distract from the fact ... that we’re seeking a working solution that allows everyday New Yorkers to share their home while still cracking down on bad actors,” said Airbnb spokesperson Peter Schottenfels.

Related stories:
Brooklyn assemblyman proposes Airbnb reform
Airbnb opens its doors to refugees


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