People living in New York City have found a way to increase their property values and make their rentals less useless to them. Naturally, they had to break “the law” in order to accomplish this burst of productivity.
Sidenote: No real law is broken. “The Law,” the real law that operates for all human beings at all times, states that persons can rent or sell their property. That’s what private property means. These property owners or renters only broke “the law” if we identify the products of legislatures, committees, and bureaucratic decrees. Instead of saying they “broke the law,” we should say they disobeyed orders that were issued to them.
So, for those worried about this wretched arrangement of prosperity and anarchy, never fear; the New York government is getting ready to crack down.
From the New York Post:
Nearly two-thirds of the city apartments recently listed on Airbnb were being offered in violation of the law, an analysis by state authorities has found.
The study of data from the subletting service’s own Web site showed 64 percent of its 19,500-plus offerings for Jan. 31 covered an “entire apartment,” says an affidavit from the state Attorney General’s Office.
By law, a “permanent resident” must be present to sublet an apartment for fewer than 30 days.
In addition, more than 200 of the offerings came from just five “hosts,” suggesting third parties were renting out pads on behalf of their owners.
“The top five hosts by number of listings had the following number of listings: 80, 35, 31, 29 and 28,” Sumanta Ray, director of research and analysis for the AG’s Investor Protection Bureau, wrote in the affidavit, obtained by The Post.
The affidavit will be filed in court Monday by state AG Eric Schneiderman’s office, sources said. The AG is heading to court Tuesday to subpoena Airbnb records to identify users who are illegally renting out apartments.
Not wanting to admit that they are interfering with peaceful property owners and renters, the government is claiming that all sorts of bad things are happening as a result of Airbnb, from vomit in the hallway (?) to temporary brothels. But until we see hard facts this just sounds like a bunch of self-serving anecdotes. Also, no one explains how these problems would necessarily be prevented if all of their precious rules were kept.
Airbnb argues that the AG is overstepping.
Airbnb, which claims it will pump $768 million into New York’s economy this year, also noted, “Short-term rental laws were never meant to apply to New Yorkers occasionally renting out their own home.”
Personally, I don’t care what the rules were meant to do; they are wrong. Furthermore, problems like common area cleanliness and anti-prostitution laws should be enforced by other means than criminalizing renting.