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City Council Passes Bill Requiring NYC Homeowners, Tenants Who List Properties For Short-Term Rentals To Register With City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Big changes could be coming to the short-term rental market in New York City.

The City Council passed a bill Thursday requiring companies like Airbnb and their hosts to register with the city.

Homeowner Joy Williams says she legally rents out two of her central Harlem apartments on the website Airbnb.

"It definitely helps me get by. It definitely helps me live in the city, in the street, since I moved here to go to business school," she told CBS2's Andrea Grymes.

But a crackdown is looming for thousands who illegally rent out their homes in the five boroughs.

The City Council has passed a bill that would require homeowners and tenants who list their properties on websites like Airbnb to pay a fee and register with the city. That way, the city can confirm if it's legal to rent out that address.

All advertisements would then be required to include a valid registration number.

Upper East Side councilman Ben Kallos introduced the legislation.

"We have hotels in places for a reason, and we have residential neighborhoods for a reason, and no one wants to move into a building and find themselves surrounded by hotel rooms," he said.

Kallos notes for buildings with more than three apartments, state law only allows short-term rentals for less than 30 days when the resident renting it out is home at the same time.

Tom Cayler with the West Side Neighborhood Alliance hopes this new bill helps enforce that.

"Your basic security as a tenant in New York City is you know your neighbors. And now, you don't know your neighbors anymore. You don't know who's in your building," he said.

Airbnb says it already gives the city information on who uses its platform.

"We're actually quite puzzled that New York City would pass a bill like this right at the same as they're trying to resuscitate travel and tourism in the city, which is incredibly important," said Alex Dagg, with Airbnb.

Airbnb says the majority of its rentals are in the outer boroughs, where hotels aren't as convenient. The councilman says fees to register need to be finalized but would range from $20 to $100.

If the mayor signs the bill, it would take effect in 12 months.

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