Shift in NYC Short-Term Rentals: A New Era for Airbnb and Hosts

Labor Day traditionally signifies the close of summer, but this year in New York City, it also marks the commencement of a strict enforcement era for short-term rentals.

Key Changes Beginning September 5:

  • Enforcement of the 2022 law requiring registration of hosts on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo with the city.
  • A ban on full-unit rentals; hosts are required to stay in-unit with guests.
  • The reservation limit is set at two guests.
  • Potential fines of up to $5,000 per stay for non-compliance. Some buildings designated for transient lodging are exempt.

The enforcement threatens to drastically change the short-term rental landscape, potentially ending some hosts’ ventures while providing an opportunity for others. The Wall Street Journal revealed that NYC estimates nearly 10,800 illegal listings across platforms.

The Numbers

Analysts and city officials differ on the total number of affected listings. Inside Airbnb places the count at 40,000 Airbnb listings alone, while a Boston University study commissioned by Airbnb indicates around 36,000. Regardless of the precise number, the law affects listings across all platforms, making the scale of impact substantial. As of August 28, only 257 licenses had been sanctioned by the city’s Office of Special Enforcement.

Economic Impact

Data analytics site AirDNA has identified 4,000 listings at risk under the new regulations, which represents over 40% of the revenue from the five boroughs. Concurrently, New York is among many cities nationwide tightening the reins on short-term rentals due to issues ranging from unruly guests to concerns over dwindling housing availability.

The Personal Stories Behind the Listings

The enforcement brings a plethora of individual stories to the forefront. Melissa, an NYC Airbnb host and documentary filmmaker from Ridgewood, Queens, typifies the challenges many hosts face. With an Airbnb rental providing a critical income, especially after a recent job loss, Melissa remains uncertain about her future under the new regulations. She believes the law disproportionately impacts small-scale hosts. In contrast, some businesses see potential in the new landscape. AKA, a short-term-rental operator, anticipates a more level playing field. AKA CEO Larry Korman is optimistic about prospects under the new regulations, with AKA’s luxury offerings standing to gain as smaller individual operators face challenges.

Immediate Aftermath and Future Implications

Actions by Platforms

Airbnb has proactively blocked 23,000 NYC hosts from accepting new bookings post-September 5 unless they have the necessary approvals. Local Law 18, a decade in the making and culminating in its 2022 passage, intends to align short-term rental hosts with long-standing rental laws. Michael McKee, leader of the Tenants Political Action Committee, which was instrumental in crafting the legislation, predicts the elimination of illegal hotel operations within two years.

Hosts’ Responses and Dilemmas

Most hosts, when approached for comment, preferred to remain anonymous given the uncertainty and sensitivity of the situation. Some plan to explore alternative rental methods outside of platforms like Airbnb. Tom DeRose, once an Airbnb host with eight units, transitioned to long-term rentals due to Local Law 18. Like many, he used rental arbitrage, renting long-term and sub-renting short-term at higher rates, a method that’s now endangered. Concerns over the societal implications of short-term rentals, especially in cities grappling with housing shortages, have amplified the debate. In 2022 alone, Airbnb reported $85 million in revenue from New York City, a testament to the platform’s economic significance in the region.

Opportunities Amid Challenges

As with any significant regulatory shift, the changes can pave the way for innovation and reimagined business models. Established operators with the infrastructure and resources to comply may find an expanded market share as smaller competitors grapple with the new rules. The focus might shift from sheer quantity to quality, with hosts providing value-added services or experiences to differentiate themselves.

Hotel and Tourism Industry Impact

Hotels, especially those offering extended stays or boutique experiences, could potentially see an uptick in bookings. With stricter control over short-term rentals, travelers might look to more traditional accommodation means. Furthermore, the expected growth in AKA’s luxury offerings and the anticipated boom in the first quarter of 2024 underpin the prediction that hotel-like accommodations may experience heightened demand.


As New York City stands at the precipice of change, the future of short-term rentals remains undetermined. The evolving scenario will require adaptation, presenting challenges for many hosts but perhaps unveiling fresh opportunities for others. The culmination of regulatory changes, platform responses, and individual host decisions will craft a fresh chapter in the city’s relationship with short-term rentals.

Ryan is a car enthusiast and an accomplished team builder passionate about crafting captivating narratives. Known for his ability to transport readers to other worlds, his writing has garnered attention and a dedicated following. With a keen eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, Ryan continues to weave literary magic in every word he writes.