(New York) Short-term rental giant Airbnb has stopped accepting some bookings in New York City as new rules come into effect that will bring big changes for travelers hoping to avoid the high cost of hotels in the Big Apple.
The new rules aim to better regulate the short-term rental, by residents, of their apartments by the week or by the night to tourists or other people who are in town for short stays.
Under the new system, rentals of less than 30 days are only allowed if hosts register with the city.
Platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO are not allowed to show listings from unregistered hosts – and as of the start of this week, few had successfully signed up. The city said it approved just under 300 of the more than 3,800 applications received.
Activists and politicians who had lobbied for the restrictions explained that a tightening of the rules was needed to prevent homes from being de facto turned into hotel rooms.
“In New York, residential apartments should be for residential use,” argued Murray Cox of the Inside Airbnb group, which collects data on the company’s presence in cities around the world.
Airbnb challenged those rules in court, arguing that they were essentially a ban and would hurt visitors looking for affordable housing.
But as of Aug. 21, the company — which had 38,500 active non-hotel listings in New York City as of January last year — said it has stopped accepting new short-term reservations from any hosts who don’t have City registration number or document indicating that the process was in progress.
The company warned that once the city’s verification system is fully operational, no short-term ads will be allowed on its site without a registration number.