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    Why Airbnb Can Survive a ‘De Facto Ban’ in New York City

    Airbnb last week filed a lawsuit against New York City over a new law that the company is calling a “de facto ban” against short-term rentals (STRs). STRs in New York City drove $85 million in annual net revenue for Airbnb in 2022, according to the lawsuit, barely more than 1% of the company’s $8.4 billion annual revenue. While this isn't Airbnb's first civic battle, it exemplifies the global patchwork of laws and city codes it and other STR operators face. “Our industry is heavily regulated, but nothing much happens at the federal level,” says Nick Scarci, director of state and local government relations at VRMA. “We would prefer to have one framework across a whole state instead of having 10 different battles across a state with a patchwork of regulations." Meanwhile, the New York City Mayor’s office has painted Local Law 18 as a mechanism to stamp out illegal short-term rentals, which officials say worsens the housing crisis and favors tourists over residents. “Some people buy into the really negative narratives about short-term rentals,” says Scarci. “And some people just want to get rid of them, quite frankly.” He adds that VRMA is about to release a national study showing that STRs typically do not drive up rent costs. Dan Wasiolek, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar Research Services who covers lodging and online travel, believes Airbnb may suffer a temporary setback in New York but will eventually find a way forward. “I think governments and Airbnb have to continue to work together to figure out solutions on a market-by-market basis, like they always have,” he says. “But it’s not going to seriously damage the company, which has a history of working through these situations.”

    VRMA staff is featured in this article.

    Forbes (06/07/23) Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

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