New York City Cracks Down on Short-Term Rentals

Courtesy AirBnB
A short-term rental in New York City

Nearly two years ago, Budget Travel helped to focus national media attention on new legislation to regulate short-term rentals in New York state. In particular, New York City has aimed to crack down on "no-tels," residential apartments converted by owners into rent-by-the-day lodging for out-of-towners.

So, it's time for an update: How are travelers being affected? Or, as locals might put it: howsitgoineh?

Surprise! City officials have actually been enforcing the state law. In the past year, inspectors have found hundreds of residential buildings in violation, says the New York Times in an excellent article.

The two goals of the law are to protect travelers from shady scam artists and to spare neighbors in any of these buildings from having to deal with the noise of fly-by-night guests.

One thing to note, though: No traveler visiting New York City has been fined—or harassed—by local authorities. The reason is simple: It's perfectly legal for a visitor to the city to stay in a vacation rental, say experts.

Short-term rentals are widespread in the city. Nearly every block of Manhattan has an owner renting out space to stay through the online booking engine AirBnB, as this map illustrates. That's just one site, with about 10,000 listings citywide. Three other respected sites are HomeAway, FlipKey, and Roomarama. All four companies say they will remove the listing of any landlord that is breaking local laws.

Budget Travel is sticking to its advice for readers that it's okay to rent short-term apartments whenever travelers plan to visit costly cities like New York. The rentals can help visitors save cash on lodging and meals, while delivering a truer live-like-a-local vibe. (For tips, check out Budget Travel's Guide to Vacation Rentals and our 6 Tips for Safer, Smarter Apartment Rentals.)


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