New York City

Two cities, two takes on Airbnb regulations

Jersey City residents voted in favor of strict regulations on short-term rentals that will likely decrease Airbnb rentals in the city.

The Jersey City skyline.

The Jersey City skyline. Shutterstock

It’s been a busy few weeks for Airbnb. While the home-sharing company is no stranger to being under scrutiny in New York, this time around it’s not New York City or New York state regulations under the microscope, but ones in Jersey City and Buffalo. 

On Tuesday, Jersey City residents voted in favor of strict regulations on short-term rentals that will likely decrease the number of Airbnb rentals in the city – a referendum that brought in more than $4 million in spending by Airbnb, pitting the company against familiar hotel industry foes. Jersey City – just a few minutes away from Manhattan – has been a popular destination for home-sharing, in part because of its proximity to New York City, with more listings than the Bronx and Staten Island combined. 

In upstate New York, however, Airbnb has fared better. Buffalo Common Council unanimously approved a local law recently that allows short-term rentals provided hosts register their properties, undergo safety inspections and pay fees to cover inspection costs. The company cites Buffalo as a model for the kinds of regulations it would like to see other cities adopt, but Jersey City’s vote Tuesday follows other cities like Denver and New York City in cracking down on home-sharing. “Cities from Buffalo to San Francisco and Boston to Seattle have managed to pass comprehensive short-term rental regulations without punishing tenants or creating red tape and onerous registration systems,” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty said in an emailed statement. “It’s unfortunate to see the hotel-backed special interests run a campaign that moves Jersey City in a different direction.”

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

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