| 17 Nov 2016 | 10:04

    Let's set a few things straight. The sky is not falling here in New York. Even though Airbnb is putting on this Chicken Little act trying to convince its hosts that the law I sponsored to protect tenants and affordable housing spells an end to the sharing economy here in New York, nothing could be further from the truth. First, this law bans only illegal hotel advertising, and makes no change to the law that has been in place for years, prohibiting short-term apartment rentals when the tenant of record is not at home. When Mike Bloomberg was Mayor, his administration championed this law. Second, if you live in a one-or two-family home, this new law does not apply to you (just make sure to check your local zoning laws first). For apartment dwellers, you can still legally rent out a spare bedroom or even your couch while you are at home. We've seen Manhattan hosts make upwards of $16,000 a year doing just that. Airbnb won't tell you this because the company has shown that it doesn't give a damn whether you get evicted, but you should check the terms of your lease: many landlords are now expressly prohibiting their tenants from using Airbnb. The same goes for snowbirds who spend the winter in Florida or Costa Rica. It is legal to rent out your home for more than 30 days, just make sure to check your lease, coop or condo board rules and applicable building codes first. Airbnb won't tell New Yorkers that between 55% and as many as 75% of its New York listings violate existing law that has been in place for years to protect tenants and affordable housing. Airbnb also won't tell you that might get evicted if you use the site. Airbnb doesn't like to mention that commercial hosts, who illegally warehouse thousands of housing units and control more than 40% of all listings on the site, generated more than $300 million last year alone. Airbnb won't tell you these things because it needs to protect its bottom line, a bottom line that is built on breaking our laws and stealing affordable housing. It will stop at nothing to protect its profits and those of its biggest moneymakers so it perpetrates the lie that it cares about you and your family. My colleagues and I who championed this law have been working together for years to create and maintain affordable and livable communities. Illegal hotels, promoted by Airbnb or otherwise, make New York more, not less expensive, and lead to more rapid gentrification. The fight to prevent the spread of illegal hotels is nothing new, and it's not limited to New York. Cities across the world, like San Francisco and New Orleans, Berlin and Paris, are both contending with the tech giant displacing tenants and stealing affordable housing. But Airbnb has changed the way the battle is being waged. Notwithstanding the web of lies that Airbnb's PR machine has woven, it's quite clear that the company does not care about middle class New Yorkers. Airbnb cares about its own profits, and not the people paying the price every time another housing unit is lost or the rent is increased on an already struggling family. Don't be fooled by Airbnb's Chicken Little act, when really, the company is the devious fox that is manipulating the affordable housing crisis for its own benefit.