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Accommodating Airbnb: Managing the Presence of Peer-to-Peer Accommodations Companies in New York City

Fiorini, Alexandria

There are four commonly cited concerns raised by the popularity—and profitability—of Airbnb in New York City: the lack of taxation, the integrity of housing stock, public safety, and legality. The 416,000 yearly guests of Airbnb in New York City are not paying the occupancy and sales taxes to the city and state that would be paid by tourists staying in licensed hotels (Jiha 2015). Affordable housing advocates are angered by the idea of diverting housing stock in New York. Complaints to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) about apartments being converted into ‘illegal hotels’ rose 62% from 2013 to 2014 (New York City Council 2015). This thesis seeks to identify the most appropriate policy response to the wildly popular and widely criticized short-term rental market. This paper explores the history of Airbnb’s relationship with New York, elucidates the planning issues and legislation relevant to short-term rentals, analyzes policy options available to city governments, and finally provides recommendations for the City of New York. The author concludes that the legalization of short-term apartment rentals would allow New York City and New York State to capture the benefits of the short-term rental market and reduce the loss of housing stock to illegal commercial rental conversion at an more significant level than the present prohibition achieves.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Martin, Jonathan D.
Scherer, Andrew A.
Sutton, Stacey
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
October 21, 2015
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