Elected officials last week announced a new coalition to promote affordable housing and put Airbnb under increased scrutiny.
They said at a Sept. 12 City Hall steps press conference that Airbnb promotes illegal hotels and enables unscrupulous building owners to flout a 2010 law banning apartment sublets of less than 30 days. The new organization, Share Better, will also advertise extensively to counter Airbnb’s own recent ad blitz. The San Francisco-based “home-sharing” company meanwhile denied wrongdoing and dismissed the new organization as beholden to city hotel interests.
The new group did not specify how many affordable housing units have been lost due to Airbnb’s activities. Councilmember Corey Johnson said, though, that action must be taken to protect the city’s remaining rent-regulated units.
“We all are in favor of the share economy, but what about the fair economy?” he said. “It’s got to be fair to rent-stabilized tenants. Rent-stabilized tenants are becoming an endangered species and if we don’t step up as elected officials — as advocates — we are going to lose them.”
Assemblymember Dick Gottfried — who co-sponsored the 2010 law with state Senator Liz Krueger, who was also at the event — said Airbnb ads present an image far from the reality of its roughly 20,000 New York City listings.