NYC Reverses Illegal Hotel Fine Leveled Against Airbnb Host

In June we heard about a New York City resident who wanted to make a couple extra bucks by renting out a part of his apartment on Airbnb. That seemingly simple action, echoed by Airbnbers around the country on a regular basis, resulted in a fine for apparently tangling with the city’s laws providing against illegal hotels. Months later, vindication is his.

In a post on the Airbnb site, the company’s head of global public policy David Hantman writes that the host — a man Airbnb had stuck by in his times of trouble and also helped out in the legal department — has triumphed in his appeal of an administrative judge’s decision to fine him $2,400 for renting out some space in his home.

The New York City Environmental Control Board reversed the fines late last week, which is a “major victory for Nigel, New York and the Airbnb community,” writes Hantman:

In the appeal, we and Nigel argued—and the appeal board now agrees—that under New York law as long as a permanent occupant is present during a stay, the stay does not violate New York’s short term rental laws. Much of the New York law is confusing, with some provisions applying to certain buildings and not to others. But this shared space provision was crystal clear. We intervened in this case because the initial decision on Nigel’s case was so clearly wrong, and we are pleased to see that the Board agreed.

This will likely be a good thing for other New Yorkers trying to combat ever escalating rents, as well as tourists traveling to the city who want a place to rest their Times Square dazzled heads but don’t want to fork over an excessive amount of cash for a hotel.

Meanwhile, I have a half a couch available for the foreseeable future, just FYI. It comes with a cat for no extra charge.