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Don’t Blame AirBnb for New York City’s High Rents: New at Reason

Saturday, October 15, 2016 7:09
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AirBnb has made for a convenient scapegoat for New York City’s long standing problem of high rents.

Allie Howell and Jared Meyer write:

The mayor’s desire to take action [on high rent] is warranted, as New Yorkers spend nearly two-thirds of their income on housing. While de Blasio has identified a real problem, his preferred solutions will not work. His commitment to failed policies and rejection of new solutions will only exacerbate the housing crises.

One example of this misguided approach is de Blasio’s promise to spend $10 million on enforcement of a 2010 amendment to the city’s Multiple Dwelling Law that bans short-term rentals on platforms such as AirBnb if the tenant is absent. City officials claim that these rentals are being used to set up “illegal hotels” that limit the supply of affordable housing for residents.

Outrageous rent in New York City is nothing new, but the alleged culprit—AirBnb—did not launch until 2008, though the city’s rent problem can be dated back to the 1980s. How exactly has AirBnb been squeezing housing options for New Yorkers since before its creation? The short answer is that it has not. In a mind-boggling case of government dishonesty, the mayor and city council are blaming problems created by years of government overreach on the new guy in town.

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