All over the map: The short-term rental landscape in the United States

The fallout from New York City’s 2023 move to ban many types of short-term rentals (STRs) continues to reverberate throughout the United States. Some municipalities are trying to beef up their own restrictions, while several state legislatures are working in the opposite direction. Given the ever-evolving landscape, many of the main players in the should they or shouldn’t they debate, including Airbnb, the American lodging industry, affordable housing advocates, and lodging data analysts, are weighing in.

In September of 2023, Local Law 18 went into effect in New York City. It requires all short-term rental (less than 30 days) hosts to register with the city or face fines of up to $5,000. It also prohibits booking platforms from processing transactions for properties that are not registered.

The measure was passed in order to end the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals and to enforce an existing prohibition against rentals of fewer than 30 days unless the host is present. The result of the new legislation, according to Inside Airbnb, is that between August and October of last year, the number of short-term rentals in New York City plunged 85 per cent.

In toughening up its regulations and enforcement efforts, New York is following in the footsteps of other large cities in the United States. Many have installed licensing and registration requirements, and limitations on rental nights. San Francisco, the birthplace of Airbnb, was one of the early adopters of STR regulations. As far back as 2014, San Francisco ruled that only permanent residents, who have registered with the city, are allowed to be short-term hosts. To be a permanent resident, one must reside in a unit for at least 275 nights per year. The ability to share space when a host is present is unlimited, but host-absent stays are limited to 90 days per year.

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