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New York Controversy: A crackdown on "no-tels"
"Hundreds of New Yorkers, like others nationwide, have been making a few extra dollars by using websites to sublet pullout sofas, living rooms, and whole apartments."
But that may end soon. This week, New York state senators vote on a bill that would make it illegal for any homeowner or renter to sublet for less than a month. The new law would be a blanket ban on short-term rentals no matter how ethical the renter is. (It's always been illegal to violate co-op leases and condominium bylaws.)
This proposed law is bad news for any budget traveler visiting New York City and renting one of the 3,000 spaces that go for much (much) less than the nightly rate at hotels. Cheap digs may be history.
For savvy budget-conscious travelers, short-term sublets are a "happy medium" option. They're less shady than couch surfing (where you sleep free in someone's spare room) and less complicated than vacation rentals (which come with annoying fine print and typically inflexible minimum-stay requirements).
To be sure, some New Yorkers believe short-term rentals ruin the peaceful, secure vibe of residential buildings (because of their streams of sweaty budget travelers, presumably). Plus, renters don't always collect taxes on the cost of the rentals (clearly a no-no, but also a side issue). What's more, hotel owners hate that they're losing customers. (So, so sad!)
Unsurprisingly, while Budget Travel doesn't take political positions, I (writing personally) oppose to this law. Think about it: If you can save $150 a night on your visit to New York City, who is harmed? Who is really being hurt here by short-term sublets? Anecdotally I can say I am a quiet, clean guest, and I bet most budget-conscious travelers staying in other people's homes are, too. Property owners need to pay their taxes.
In other words, I respect the law. I really do. Almost always. But sometimes?sometimes I ignore it. I'm smart and only jaywalk on reasonable occasions. But this new legislation sounds an awful lot like excessively strict jaywalking laws. It encourages ordinarily law-abiding people, like me, to break the law because the law is so inane. And prompting decent people to break the law is a bad thing.
Protestors have created an online petition. Others are calling the state speaker's office at 518/455-3791 to voice their opinions on Bill A10008 (in favor or against, of course).
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