NYC Tenant's Airbnb Fine Overturned by Board

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 02, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York man's $2,400 Airbnb fine was overturned by a New York City regulatory board.

Earlier this year, an administrative law judge ordered Nigel Warren to pay a fine after he rented his room in a two-bedroom apartment to a tourist for a few days, via the online booking site Airbnb.

But the city's Environmental Control Board reversed the judge's decision.

Permanent Occupants

Under New York law, it's unlawful to rent out a single-family home, apartment, or room for less than 30 days if you aren't living there. Other cities and states have similar restrictions on short-term hotels that could get tenants and owners in trouble for using services such as Airbnb.

In this case, the fine was levied against Warren's landlord, but Warren had agreed to pay it. Airbnb appealed the judge's ruling on their behalf, reports The New York Times.

Last week, the control board ruled that Warren did not violate regulations on short-term rentals because a permanent occupant of the apartment -- Warren's roommate -- was present during the tourist's rental period.

Since Warren's roommate, who occupied the apartment's second bedroom, was staying in the apartment at the same time the tourist was, the local law wasn't broken.

The bottom line of this story is that as long as a permanent occupant is present during a stay, the stay does not violate New York's short-term-rental laws.

Additional Considerations

But there's a slight catch. In addition to occupying the apartment at the same time, note that the New York law also requires that all parts of the apartment be available to the paying guest, according to Curbed New York.

While New York's multiple dwelling law may not prohibit offering short-term rentals via websites such as Craigslist and Airbnb, individual leases or condo/co-op bylaws may prohibit it, so folks interested in doing this should check with their landlords or building boards first.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard