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fighting the future
New York Goes to War With AirBnB

Bill DeBlasio’s knee-jerk offensive against Uber may have failed miserably, but liberal Empire State officials are not giving up their crusade against the sharing economy. The New York Times reports:

On June 17, the State Legislature passed what would become one of the most stringent home-sharing laws in the country, if not the world, should Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approve it. The measure would forbid not only landlords, but also tenants, to list apartments for short-term rental on Airbnb and similar sites, and would impose fines of up to $7,500 on those who flout it. It is already illegal in New York to rent out an unoccupied apartment in a building with three or more units for fewer than 30 days, but Airbnb is full of advertisements for such places regardless; about 55 percent of Airbnb listings violate the law, according to housing activists.

Many blue cities have saddled the company with onerous regulations. But the New York legislation, supported by a coalition of neighborhood activists and the hotel lobby, sounds like something very close to an outright ban on the service.

Cuomo would be wise to veto the bill, but if he does sign it, it won’t last long. Services like AirBnB are a permanent part of the new economy emerging from the ashes of late industrial society, and governments simply won’t be able to keep fighting the future forever, no matter how vigorously they are lobbied by the declining blue model establishment.

Governments do have a role to play in sorting out some of the kinks, and addressing some of the growing pains, associated with the rise of sharing economy companies. But that means doing the hard work of thinking of new ways to harness the promise of these productivity-enhancing services, not lazily taxing and regulating them into oblivion with regulations better suited to the last century.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Governments doing the hard work of thinking of new ways to harness the promise of these productivity-enhancing services, not lazily taxing and regulating them into oblivion with regulations better suited to the last century? Surely you jest!

  • CaliforniaStark

    A major problem with AirBnB rentals in my area is they often are being use for large parties and rave like events; often involving drugs and underage drinking; neighboring residents have found people having sex in their back yards. Maybe there is a reason blue cities are passing “onerous regulations” to rein AirBnB rentals in. This is a future I am willing to fight against — guess am now part of the “declining blue model establishment”. Thankfully some of the blue establishment types here carry badges.

    • JollyGreenChemist

      Then maybe the regulators should focus on those specific issues, rather than banning any and all rentals. We don’t ban cars just because some people drive recklessly.

      • CaliforniaStark

        What your referring to would be a licensing regiment that would apply to all Airbnb and other similar short-term rentals. Many municipalities are enacting them now, with resistance from companies such as Airbnb. Increasingly landlords are enforcing lease provisions against subleasing against tenants who allow Airbnb rentals without their permission. Agree you don’t ban cars to prevent reckless driving, but laws must be enacted regulating all drivers to prevent those who would drive recklessly.

  • LarryD

    To borrow a phrase, perhaps the problem is the sharing economy offers insufficient opportunities for graft.

    Cynical about government? Yes, and I have a lot of company.

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