Airbnb-NYC Settlement Means Hosts Will Have to Pay Taxes or Leave the Platform
Airbnb NYC billing means hosts have to pay taxes or leave the platform
Airbnb and New York City ended a long-standing battle to comply with short-term rental terms and reached an agreement that Airbnb must provide the city with host information such as names, physical addresses, phone numbers, and emails. If hosts do not consent to the data transfer, they cannot list their properties on the platform.
Airbnb's approval of such an agreement in one of its largest global markets can affect other cities.
With a few exceptions, e.g. For example, for private and shared room listings and accommodations that were listed for less than four nights in the previous quarter, hosts in New York must pay state sales and usage taxes, hotel occupancy taxes in New York City, and taxes nightly city and state room fees.
"This information is only provided to hosts who have consented, but hosts who do not consent cannot specify their home as a short-term rental," Airbnb said.
Settling Airbnb's lawsuit against the city, which was filed in the Southern District of the Federal Court in New York in 2018, offers Airbnb protection in the event that companies like Expedia's Vrbo or Booking.com do better business.
However, the comparison stipulates that within the next 120 days the city will have to review a changed regulation on these topics, which would also apply to all other short-term rental platforms.
The agreement reached on Friday is subject to the adoption of a regulation approving the terms by the New York City Council and would not enter into force until 180 days after such a measure. It is therefore likely that the new rules and the transfer of host information will not start until 2021.
The deal is not retroactive, so Airbnb would not have to provide host and listing information to the city before implementation.
The settlement and release of claims embedded below doesn't seem to ease New York's strict short-term rental restrictions. The New York State Apartment Building Act restricts certain short-term rentals to stays of less than 30 days unless the host is present. This effectively eliminates super hosts and multi-dwelling businesses unless they have hotel licenses.
Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk informed the hosts in an online message and an email about the company's reasons for the deal. Airbnb will host a webinar on June 29 to answer questions from the hosts.
“First, compared to the city's original regulation, the exemptions and confidentiality provisions that will be included in the amended regulation and the city's related obligations will help protect the personal data of many hosts across the city who would otherwise be protected would not have received, ”said Blecharczyk said.
For example, host information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which requires the disclosure of public records, the parties say.
The Airbnb co-founder hopes that the settlement and transfer of host information will calm the city and the state, "that short-term rents can be effectively regulated without blunt bans."
"More than ever, regular New Yorkers should be able to occasionally share their homes. Activities that we believe should not be confused with illegal hotels," said Blecharczyk. "By passing on all relevant data, we hope to make this clear to everyone involved."
The problem, however, is that short-term rentals have become a focus, as many actually serve as quasi-hotels, disrupt communities, and contribute to bottlenecks in affordable housing.
Airbnb has increasingly entered into agreements with cities such as Boston to provide such host information to local authorities to help make peace with regulators.
In other Airbnb news:
Reuters reported that Airbnb has partnered with Sao Paulo, Brazil to revitalize tourism there once the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
Skift reported on Friday that female employees at Airbnb in China sent a letter to management about a senior executive in China who reportedly spoke about his scorecard of the physical appearance of female employees in China and San Francisco.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO said Thursday that its board of directors, which, according to CNN, "includes four white men, three white women, a black man and an Asian man, should be more diversified and that Airbnb" could have done so much more on questions of the Diversity.
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