72% of New York City Airbnb rentals illegal: Report

Nearly three-quarters of all Airbnb rentals in New York City are illegal, violating zoning laws, among others, according to a report released Thursday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The report, based on four years of Airbnb-supplied data, stated commercial operators, not residents, are supplying more than a third of the units, predominantly in Manhattan, and generate more than a third of the revenue. The report also stated 6% of the hosts made 37% of the revenue — or $US168 million. The number of units they administered ranged from three to 272. One individual with those 272 units charged an average of US$358.19 a night, yielding US$6.8 million, the report said.

The report also suggested Airbnb made US$40 million from these illegal rentals and New York City was likely owed US$33 million in unpaid hotel taxes from illegal short-term rentals.

Schneiderman also said his office and city regulators are launching a joint enforcement initiative to shut down illegal hotels. Various regulators will investigate violations of building and safety codes and tax regulations.

“We need to move forward,” an Airbnb spokesman told the New York Times. “We need to work together on some sensible rules that stop bad actors and protect regular people who simply want to share the home in which they live.”

The report, “Airbnb in the City,” is based on 497,322 private stays in 35,354 unique places that were rented for less than 30 days and did not involve a shared room.

The report also indicated about 2,000 units are rented for six months or more. A dozen buildings had 60% or more of their units used as rentals for at least half the year.