New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Natalie Sachmechi

Crain's Insider Airbnb resists restriction and inspection of short-term rentals by Natalie Sachmechi

Airbnb resists restriction and inspection of short-term rentals

A City Council bill that would require the host of short-term rentals on websites such as Airbnb’s to register their homes with the city and get them inspected by engineers pits the short-term rental company against a hotel industry hobbled by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The legislation aims to curtail the thousands of apartments that are being illegally used as hotels, said the bill’s sponsor, Councilman Ben Kallos.

Hotels argue that the rental schemes are hurting their business by offering less expensive, more flexible alternatives to tourists. The schemes also reduce the city’s stock of affordable housing by letting apartments be used for short-term stays rather than for full-time residents, the hotels point out.

Crain's New York Yang draws renewed attention to proposed sidewalk shed legislation by Natalie Sachmechi

Yang draws renewed attention to proposed sidewalk shed legislation

Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos has been proposing legislation since 2016 that would force building owners to make necessary repairs to facades within six months of an inspection before the city steps in.

In addition, building owners would have to dismantle safety sheds within seven days after the work is completed.The sheds are unsafe because they can kill people if they collapse, Kallos said.

In 2018 scaffolding fell outside a Starbucks in Brooklyn, injuring three people.

The sheds look terrible, Kallos said, and they hurt small businesses by obscuring storefronts.

“The only solution is for building owners to actually have to make repairs in days, not years, under legislation I've proposed,” said Kallos, a Democrat. In addition, he would require building owners to pay for twice-yearly scaffolding inspections if their sheds have been up for longer than one year.