New York Hates The Free Market, Aims To Ban Airbnb

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The internet is wonderful. In addition to creating an abyss of unauthenticated information, the internet creates a free market for the people – thanks to the Craigslist revolution.

Hate getting into sweaty taxis? Is hailing a cab difficult due to your anxiety? Or worse, if you don’t live in a big city… CALLING a cab company on the phone?!? I know, I know – let’s just breathe for a second…… ok. If you hate taxis, Uber is a great way to have a guy in his early 30s to whip you to brunch across town in his Honda Accord.

Hate paying ridiculous prices for hotel rooms, especially around holidays? Hate imagining how many fluid ounces of love milk your hotel pillows are saturated with? Airbnb gives you the option to sleep in a poor university student’s closet so they can afford to buy groceries that week.

Right now, NY lawmakers are trying to take that option away. A bill passed by the State Senate and Assembly, which Governor Cuomo will either sign or veto, aims to ban rental listings of less than 30 days.

New York City has what’s called the Multiple Dwelling Law, which sets parameters for leasing apartments in great detail. In the law, rental units are classified as either “Class A” or “Class B.”

A “class A” multiple dwelling is a multiple dwelling that is occupied for permanent residence purposes. This class shall include tenements, flat houses, maisonette apartments, apartment houses, apartment hotels, bachelor apartments, studio apartments, duplex apartments, kitchenette apartments, garden-type maisonette dwelling projects, and all other multiple dwellings except class B multiple dwellings. (Section 8a.)

And if you’re curious,

A “class B” multiple dwelling is a multiple dwelling which is occupied, as a rule transiently, as the more or less temporary abode of individuals or families who are lodged with or without meals. This class shall include hotels, lodging houses, rooming houses, boarding houses, boarding schools, furnished room houses, lodgings, club houses, college and school dormitories and dwellings designed as private dwellings but occupied by one or two families with five or more transient boarders, roomers or lodgers in one household. (Section 9)

Basically, Class A units are any permanent residence where a tenant pays rent to live. Class B units are temporary places to stay.

This bill will disallow advertising for Class A units for anything less than permanent residence. Theoretically, one could still get away with charging someone to stay at their place. In NYC, you can find advertising for just about anything on the street.

Hey, wanna see a comedy show? Hey, wanna see a play? Hey, need a place to stay tonight? I’ve got a two-bedroom loft overlooking the Hudson. Follow me.

If this bill gets signed into action, Airbnb hosts will face fines up to $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, or $7,500 for third offense and subsequent offenders. Pretty risky stuff. I wonder how this law will be enforced.

Good afternoon, miss. I’m detective Lasky. NYPD – Airbnb division. I understand you operate a cozy 1-bedroom walk-up in Greenwich Village, just two minutes from Washington Square Park. Mind if I ask you a few questions?

While it stinks for you average tourist, the law does have a purpose in the grand scheme of things. I found a Facebook bro in the trending topics section who sums it up pretty well.

Thanks, Ryan. While we’re on the topic of the free market, watch out for Facebook. Quickly becoming the new Craigslist. You can even pay people through Facebook like you can with Venmo.

Oh, and sign this petition to bring Uber and Lyft to Upstate NY.