There is a rise of sharing services in America these days, facilitated by technology and the internet. From ride-sharing services like Uber, to goods-sharing services like Neighborgoods, more Americans are looking to share products and services and to save money. One of these, a house sharing service called Airbnb, has gotten quite a bit of backlash recently.
Now, the company faces a new and probably unforeseen obstacle in New York City. The issue is that it’s actually illegal in New York to rent an apartment for 30 days without the owner being present. A new website, InsideAirbnb.com, actually maps out Airbnb locations across the city — some of which are illegal.
The website was built by an Australian living in Brooklyn named Murray Cox. He told USA Today he started the site as a “public service.”
Hotel workers, housing advocates, and city officials are all blaming rising housing costs in the city partly on Airbnb, which makes landlords more likely not to rent to people long term. Just last month protesters stepped out to call for Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop Airbnb.
“Like a marauding army, they have blanketed the city with illegal hotels,” said New York State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal.
Over 27,000 Airbnbs are detailed on Cox’s map, along with other information that could help lawmakers and law enforcement find illegal rentals.
Airbnb was started to help professionals find a temporary place to stay during conferences when lodging is hard to find. Corporate housing, which is the rental of a furnished apartment, has been a growing sector of the lodging industry for the last 20 years. The average stay in corporate housing in 2012 was a little less than three months — 88 days.
According to Cox’s map, which uses data from Airbnb’s website, approximately 58% of listings on Airbnb are questionable — due to the fact that they advertise full apartment rentals. Cox says he’s considering creating similar maps for other large cities like Portland and San Francisco.