NY state lawmakers introduce bill to combat hazardous Airbnb listings

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Lauren Glassberg has the details.

It's designed to take the middle man out of finding a place to stay, but some New York State lawmakers say landlords are turning Airbnb rentals into serious hazards.

"What we found when we investigated these individual sites is really potential rooms of doom," State Senator Jeff Klein said.

State Senator Klein is talking about listings on Airbnb that have spaces maxed out with mattresses. There are too many people too be safe.

He looked at more than 100 listings in the city that allowed more than 13 guests.

"What they doing in many cases, is maximizing the number of individuals who can actually stay there, by putting beds inches away from the refrigerator or stove, and needless to say, putting people potentially at risk," State Sen. Klein said.

Klein is co-sponsoring two pieces of legislation. The first would ban one- and two-family homes from being used for short term rentals. The second would require Airbnb to police its own site.

"We believe they have an obligation and responsibility to know who they are allowing to advertise on their site. We believe they have a responsibility and obligation to make sure that if someone is living in apartment or house out on their site they should know that it's safe, that it is not in violation of the building codes," State Senator Diane Savino said.

For its part, Airbnb says it has taken down listings in the past that do not meet their standards and that, "We are eager to work with lawmakers...to find a sensible solution that will allow New Yorkers to responsibly share their primary home and crack down on commercial operators."

Of the listings state lawmakers found questionable, almost half were in Brooklyn and 39% were in Manhattan. 14% were in Queens and 1% was in the Bronx. Staten Island had no such listings.

Klein plans to introduce his proposals to the legislature in the coming weeks.

"I don't want to wait until something bad happens," State Sen. Klein said.

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign a separate piece of legislation that would prohibit the advertisement of short term rentals on Airbnb and similar sites. That would effectively destroy Airbnb and how it operates. It's something Airbnb says it would fight.
Related Topics:
realestateairbnbrental propertyNew York City
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