Book ’em and Report ’em

Airbnb and other booking services will have to provide New York City with monthly reports of the addresses, length of stay, cost, host name, and other details of short-term stays under legislation passed by the City Council Wednesday and expected to be signed by the Mayor.

Meanwhile, the National Apartment Association has joined an appeal against Airbnb in federal court, trying to establish the right of property owners to decide if tenants may use the service.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a report this week decrying the high cost of security deposits and proposing statewide legislation to limit deposits to one month on all properties and require owners to offer installment payment plans for deposits. While highlighting that the median advertised rent in New York City in 2016 was $2695, the report also mentions that the average rent actually paid by new movers was $1690.

The New York Times reports that the City will propose combining all its rental assistance programs for the homeless into one system, to eliminate confusion and resistance to accepting tenants by building owners. Details of the combined program are not yet available.

Score another victory for NIMBYs who convinced developers planning 120 units, including 36 affordable apartments, in Elmhurst to build just 77 market rate units instead. Ironically, the City Planning Commission approved the larger building just days before opposition from the local Councilman killed it.

A legal challenge to local preferences for new housing has been filed against the Town of Eastchester. Advocates claim that giving a preference to Town residents for new senior apartments being built perpetuates segregation because the Town is mostly white. Similar cases have been brought in New York City and around the region, threatening one of the tools politicians use to convince neighborhoods to accept new development.

The City Store has just released the 2018 Zoning Handbook, an illustrated alternative for lay people who may not be able to face the full 1300 page New York City zoning code.

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