Airbnb ruling reversed—it’s legal again in NYC

The New York City Environmental Control Board deemed the online room-sharing service is legal again, as long as the original tenant’s roommate is home.

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Airbnb has emerged victorious from its legality dispute. Last May, a judge deemed the room-renting company in violation of NYC laws, which ban residents from renting out homes for less than 29 days, and fined New Yorker Nigel Warren $2,400 for doing so through the site. The popular start-up pledged its own lawyers to Warren, and the ruling was successfully reversed by the Environmental Control Board as of last Friday. The verdict: It's now okay to rent your room out online, provided your roommate is home (tough luck for studio-dwellers).

You may have noticed that online room-renting didn't exactly shut down since May, nor did Airbnb remove New York listings from its site. That's because the illegal short-term renting law is only prosecutable as a secondary offense. So you'd only get busted if, say, your guests threw a party and the cops showed up in response to a noise complaint (which, let's face it, isn't a bad thing).

"This episode highlights how complicated the New York law is, and it took far too long for Nigel to be vindicated," said an Airbnb spokesperson on its public policy blog. "That is why we are continuing our work to clarify the law and ensure New Yorkers can share their homes and their city with travelers from around the world."


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