December 14, 2017 | By Charles Botensten

Q. What is Airbnb?  Can I utilize it to rent out my apartment in New York City for short periods of time less than 30 days?

A: Airbnb is a marketplace for people to list and find housing accommodations around the world.  Airbnb connects travelers and hosts looking to rent out their unused spaces.  The spaces are rented on a per night basis with no limit, other than availability, on how long or how short a guest may stay.

Utilizing Airbnb and similar websites to rent out your New York City apartment may violate the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law (the “MDL”).   The MDL requires a residential multiple dwelling to be used for “permanent resident purposes”.  “Permanent resident purposes” has been defined as being occupied by the same person or family for 30 or more consecutive days.  Renting all or any portion of your apartment using a site such as Airbnb for any period of time less than 30 days would violate the MDL.   However, it does not violate the MDL to rent a room to another person if you are occupying your apartment at the same time and all areas of the apartment are available to your paying guest.

Important Note:  Aside from the MDL, individuals seeking to rent out their apartments should be cognizant of the following (where applicable): (i) the terms of their lease or sublease; (ii) rent regulations laws, (iii) the rules and regulations of the condo and co-op; (iv) the New York City Zoning Code; and (v) the New York City Administrative Code.  Each of these laws and/or rules and regulations could affect a person’s right to rent all or any part of their apartment.

The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel

Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP