Digital Originals

published : 2023-09-13

America's Biggest City Faces Potential Squatter Crisis Due to New Rules on Short-Term Rentals, Attorney Warns

Real estate attorney says renting units for 30 days or more on platforms like Airbnb is 'playing with fire'

A stunning aerial view of New York City showcasing its iconic skyline, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

New York City is grappling with the implementation of new rules on short-term rentals, which could inadvertently lead to a surge in landlord-squatter disputes, warns Dean Roberts, a prominent real estate attorney.

Enforced since September 5, the restrictions on rentals for 30 days or less aim to curb the number of short-term listings in the city, forcing hosts to rent out units on a monthly basis.

However, these regulations inadvertently create a potential problem when considering New York state's squatters rights, according to Roberts.

Essentially, anyone who stays on a property for 30 days or more becomes a legal tenant, which could present an arduous and lengthy eviction process for landlords.

Roberts cautions that hosts who utilize platforms like Airbnb to rent out their properties for 30 days are taking a substantial risk.

A luxurious short-term rental in New York City, tastefully decorated and furnished, providing the perfect accommodation for tourists and weekend getaways. Photo taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

He foresees a variety of issues and opportunities for misuse arising from these regulations.

To enforce the new rules, New York City's Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement has launched the Short-Term Rental Registration Law, requiring hosts to register any rental shorter than 30 days with the mayor's office and banning booking platforms from processing transactions for unregistered rentals.

Hosts are also mandated to stay in the unit between short-term rentals, with a maximum of two guests at a time.

Before the enforcement date, over 3,800 short-term rental registration applications were submitted to the city, but less than 300 were approved.

Roberts argues that these new rules, although meant to benefit long-term renters and stabilize the rental market, are unlikely to achieve their goals.

A portrait of Dean Roberts, a respected real estate attorney in New York City, known for his expertise in navigating rental regulations and landlord-squatter disputes. Photo taken with a Nikon D850.

According to him, the additional regulations disrupt market forces and create an imbalance in the rental market.

He predicts that families seeking weekend rentals or landlords capitalizing on the city's tourism will find ways to bypass these rules, reverting to alternative platforms or returning to traditional methods of renting.

In conclusion, New York City's new rules on short-term rentals may inadvertently lead to a rise in disputes between landlords and squatters, as the regulations collide with New York state's squatter rights.

Hosts who rent out their properties for 30 days or less via platforms like Airbnb are taking a significant risk, warns real estate attorney Dean Roberts.

As the city aims to regulate the rental market, it remains to be seen whether these rules will truly benefit long-term renters and stabilize the market, or if they will drive the practice further underground.