New York’s Airbnb Ban Is Bolstering a Rental Black Market

As few as 2 percent of New York City’s previous 22,000 short-term rentals on Airbnb have been registered with the city since a new law banning most listings came into effect in early September. But many illegal short-term rental listings are now being advertised on social media and lesser known platforms, with some still seemingly being listed on Airbnb itself. The number of short-term listings on Airbnb has fallen by more than 80 percent, from 22,434 in August to just 3,227 by October 1, according to Inside Airbnb, a watchdog group that tracks the booking platform. But just 417 properties have been registered with the city, suggesting that very few of the city’s short-term rentals have been able to get permission to continue operating.

The crackdown in New York has created a “black market” for short-term rentals in the city, claims Lisa Grossman, a spokesperson for Restore Homeowner Autonomy and Rights (RHOAR), a local group that opposed the law. Grossman says she’s seen the short-term rental market pick up steam on places like Facebook since the ban. “People are going underground,” she says. New York’s crackdown on short-term rentals has dramatically reshaped the vacation rental market in the city. People are using sites like Craigslist, Facebook, Houfy, and others, where they can search for guests or places to book without the checks and balances of booking platforms like Airbnb. Hotel prices are expected to rise with more demand.
After the rule change, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company would be shifting attention away from New York, which was once its biggest market.

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