By Catherine Thorbecke, CNN
(CNN) — Airbnb on Thursday sued New York City over its restrictions on short-term housing rentals, in a legal dispute that pits the company’s concerns about its ability to operate in a key market against the city’s efforts to address an affordable housing crisis.
The San Francisco-based tech company sued New York City over the Short-Term Rental Registration Law, a local ordinance passed in 2022 and set to begin being enforced next month. The law requires short-term rental hosts in the city to register with the mayor’s office, disclose who else lives on the property and agree to comply with other city codes.
In a lawsuit filed in state court Thursday, Airbnb said the “extreme and oppressive regulatory scheme” operates as a “de facto ban against short-term rentals in New York City.” The company also argued that the city’s restrictions around Airbnb hosting are overly complex.
“It is a near impossibility for lay New Yorkers to certify compliance with and understanding of the maze of complex regulations in different legal codes governing short-term rentals,” Airbnb said in the suit. Three Airbnb hosts in New York City also filed a companion lawsuit against the city.
The lawsuit is the latest example of Airbnb clashing with officials in New York City and New York State over the past decade. While Airbnb has argued its service can be a financial boon to hosts and provide economic benefits to communities, critics have raised concerns that the service risks limiting available housing supply and being disruptive in neighborhoods.
Jonah Allon, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, said the administration’s goal is “protecting safety and community livability for residents, preserving permanent housing stock, and ensuring our hospitality sector can continue to recover and thrive.”
“We have consistently worked with hosts and platforms to ensure they were aware of their requirements under the law,” Allon said in a statement. “We will review the lawsuit.”
The Short-Term Rental Registration Law at the center of the lawsuits was adopted by the city council last year and aims to ease the affordable housing crises in New York City at a time when the rents continue to skyrocket.
A report last month found that the median cost of renting an apartment in the Manhattan borough of the city was $4,241 in April – marking an 8% increase from a year prior and a new record high. A separate report from April also found that half of New York City’s households cannot afford to live in the city.
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