Bad news for those seeking or offering cheap accommodation over the internet: a New York judge has determined that Airbnb is illegal in the city.
Despite Airbnb's attempts to persuade officials otherwise, the service has been found to violate the illegal hotel law — a statute which stops property owners from renting out their own homes on a temporary basis. The ruling comes out of a case which saw Aribnb host Nigel Warren issued with a £5,000 demand after complaints of building and zoning code issues were made against him. Judge Clive Morrick threw out those latter issues — but decided he should be fined £1,500 for violating the illegal hotel law instead. The judge wrote:
"While breech of the condominium rules is not of itself a ground for sustaining this (notice), respondent was in breach (through Warren's acts) and the existence of the rule against rental for transient, hotel, or motel purposes is evidence that the unit owners were to restrict their use to permanent occupation."
Interestingly, the ruling doesn't make all Airbnb listings illegal — just ones for which a complaint is filed. So, if you're an Airbnb host in other cities where this kind of law exists, it pays to tread carefully from this point forward. [CNET via Fast Company]