Airbnb bill would slash NYC listings

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The air could soon be going out of Airbnb.

The home-sharing service and its competitors face severe downsizing under a bill signed Monday by Mayor de Blasio that requires the companies to turn over detailed data about their hosts.

The new law, which takes effect in February 2019, will provide the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement with names and addresses of hosts, the type of dwellings being rented, the frequency of rentals, the rental income and — in some cases — the account name and number where hosts receive their rental fees.

Fines for home-sharing services start at $1,500 for each incomplete or inaccurate submission or 12 months’ worth of the fees collected for that listing, whichever is greater.

Earlier this year, a similar measure in San Francisco cut the number of Airbnb listings in that city from 10,000 to 5,500.

Coming just days ahead of a City Council vote to regulate ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, the city’s move has raised red flags in the Big Apple’s growing tech community.

“It’s time to have a really important conversation on what this means, on what the narrative around passing both these bills back-to-back means,” said Julie Samuels, executive director of the technology nonprofit Tech:NYC, which counts Airbnb as a member.

“Do I think this is really, really meaningful for the future of tech in New York? No. Do I worry that it could be a sign of what’s to come? Yeah. And we have a lot of work to do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union claims that the new law violates the federal Communications Decency Act that protects Web sites from being penalized for the content posted by users.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan), the bill’s sponsor, said it’s aimed only at weeding out illegal listings from sites that refuse to self-police.

“With this legislation, we are going to go after the most egregious operators,” she said at a bill-signing ceremony at City Hall.

“[The home-sharing sites] could have been transparent and accountable, and now we are using our charter-mandated responsibility to mandate it’s done.”

State law prohibits apartment rentals of fewer than 30 days unless the host is present, while city law contains similar restrictions for 1- and 2-family homes.

Officials at Airbnb, which has about 50,000 listings in the five boroughs, ripped the legislation as a gift to the hotel industry, which sees the home-sharing market as a significant threat.

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