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Airbnb in NYC: Three laws tenants should know

Airbnb experienced a tenfold increase in booking between January of 2010 and June of 2014 in NYC. This translates to big money for NYC residents who use the rental platform. Revenue by renters utilizing the site has also increased. One estimate has these numbers doubling every year from 2010 to 2013.

Although business is booming for renters that make use of Airbnb, not everyone is a fan. Landlords and property owners/managers are typically not in favor of Airbnb. Tenants should take these concerns seriously, as some violations of their lease or the law could result in eviction, especially for those in rent-regulated apartments. In New York, tenants in rent-regulated apartments do not have the right to make a profit from their apartments.

Can renting my apartment on Airbnb lead to eviction?

A recent publication in the New York Law Journal discussed this issue, noting that in addition to the rent-regulation restrictions, there are three specific laws New York tenants should be aware of:

  • Multiple Dwelling Law. This state law requires that residential apartment buildings be occupied by permanent residents only. It goes on to define a permanent resident as one who stays within the unit for 30 consecutive days. Many Airbnb rental agreements violate this law as most are short-term, many spanning the length of a weekend.
  • Real Property Law. In some instances, a tenant is allowed to sublet his or her apartment if the landlord provides advanced written notice. However, given the fact that most short-term Airbnb rentals are in violation of the above noted state law, it is unlikely a landlord will grant permission.
  • New York City Fire Code. There are different standards for apartments than hotels. Hotels have guests who are unfamiliar with their dwelling. As such, hotel rooms are required to have maps showing the nearest exit and to light up hallways to guide guests out of the building. These requirements are not present in apartment buildings. This could make for an unsafe environment for a short-term renter who is unfamiliar with the building.

Depending on your rental agreement, violation of these laws could be cause for eviction.

What should I do if I receive an eviction notice?

Tenants who receive an eviction notice for any reason should take the notice seriously. Those who are facing an eviction are wise to contact an experienced Manhattan tenant eviction rights lawyer to learn their rights and options.