Say Goodbye To Cheap NYC Lodging?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A new law was passed this month in New York that could potentially be a big headache for apartment renters and the budget-conscious travelers that love them. The New York Assembly passed a bill that would make it illegal for homeowners to offer rentals of their property for less than 30 days, essentially deeming such rentals as “transient hotels.” (I kind of like the sound of that. In my mind this term conjures of up images of this clapboard, depression-era building with hobos hanging out in front and cool beatniks roaming the hall. Come to think of it, someplace that sounds like it would be kind of fun to stay, but I digress.)

The legislation, already approved by the state Senate, is on its way to Gov. David Paterson for signature and, if passed, could mean the end for, as Budget Travel points out, those who “have been making a few extra dollars by using sites such as AirBnB, Crashpadder, Roomorama, and Craigslist to sublet pullout sofas, living rooms, and whole apartments.” A real problem, especially in a city where hotel rooms average over $200 a night, and even hostels add up after a few days.

The co-sponsor of the bill, State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, tried to soften things up a bit, by informing USA Today that the would bill exempt “bed and breakfast” situations in which visitors rent a room while the permanent occupants are living in the apartment, as well as short-term rentals where no money is exchanged.

Horrifically, Gottfried also had this to say about the Craigslister who likes to rent out his room while on a trip: “[S]omebody who is going away on vacation and once in a blue moon rents the apartment is probably not going to be affected by this . . . But if you’re making it a habit, you’re also making it a nightmare for your neighbors. You have strangers coming and going at all hours, with noise, disruption, and real safety concerns.” Which, if you think about it, is like saying to someone that those pesky drug enforcement laws aren’t really mean for the casual user, and those of you who enjoy lighting up a joint “once in a blue moon” shouldn’t really be concerned, this law isn’t really going to effect you, it’s meant for the “real” drug user.

Not surprisingly, those of us who don’t enjoy playing Russian roulette with the law, are just a little upset with this highly intrusive, overbroad regulation, but we have something we can do about it. An online petition has been created here, and an e-mail can be sent directly to the Governor here. Cheap travelers unite!

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