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NYC Judge Says Rent-Stabilized Tenants Can Be Evicted For Using Airbnb

A city housing court judge ruled this week that tenants in New York's thousands of rent-stabilized buildings can face eviction if they list their apartments on the popular lodging site.

Posted on February 20, 2015, at 10:32 a.m. ET

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Opponents of Airbnb rally before a hearing called "Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilizing Neighborhoods?" at City Hall in New York, Jan. 20.

The increasingly vocal opposition to home-sharing website Airbnb in New York City just received a legal boost. A city housing court judge ruled Tuesday to evict a Hell's Kitchen tenant who was renting his rent-stabilized apartment for $649 per night, well above his below-market $6,670 rent, according to the New York Post.

Justice Jack Stoller's ruling sets a precedent that will likely be referenced in future cases landlords could bring against Airbnb users in New York's rent-stabilized buildings, dealing the latest blow in an escalating battle between the city and the online home sharing service.

Last month, the New York City council took up the issue of whether Airbnb is contributing to illegal hotel rentals, something Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is cracking down on, and that Mayor Bill de Blasio's office has promised to enforce more strictly.

In May of last year, Airbnb reached an agreement with the city, in which it said it would hand over all data on hosts in the city that Schneiderman can use to prosecute those who violate New York's Multiple Dwelling Law.

An Airbnb representative told BuzzFeed News it cautions all hosts to familiarize themselves with local laws ahead of putting their homes up for rent on the site.

In New York, before creating any Airbnb listing, an automatic disclaimer pops up warnings hosts of the strict laws surrounding rentals in the city.

"Before deciding to become an Airbnb host in New York, it's important for you to understand the laws that may apply to you," the disclaimer reads. "While we do not provide legal advice, we wanted to provide this non-exhaustive information to help you." The post goes on to include a summary of the state law.

"We advise all hosts to review their local rules before they share their space," the Airbnb spokesperson said, "and we believe we need smart limits on home sharing in rent-regulated apartments."

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