The Brick Underground Podcast: NYC's complicated relationship with Airbnb

The city wants more data out of Airbnb to determine the impact of home sharing on rents and affordability. 


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In this episode of The Brick Underground Podcast, we explore NYC’s complicated relationship with Airbnb and other short term rental sites. We’ve seen a lot of pushback from the city on apartment-sharing—this month the subway is plastered with ads telling New Yorkers how to get up to speed on what’s legal when it comes to short-term rentals. 

On one hand, New Yorkers want to put their expensive real estate dollars to work and bring in some extra income in a city that’s notoriously unaffordable. On the other hand, there are reports that claim short-term rentals are having a negative impact on the rental market, pushing up prices for tenants and contributing to the city’s affordability crisis. The NYU Furman Center has done research on this and the city is demanding more data out of Airbnb to determine its impact on rents and affordability. 

Host Emily Myers is joined by Matt Murphy, executive director of the NYU Furman Center, to explore the issue in more depth. 

As the use of home-sharing has grown, it has spread out across the five boroughs, showing that it clearly fills a need in the market. Murphy argues that a lot of the negative perceptions of home-sharing, for example, that it contributes to noise and neighborhood instability, are anecdotal rather than data driven, which makes it hard to create policy on the issue. Getting up to speed on what's legal and how to identify safe listings will help New Yorkers stay on the right side of the law and understand the penalties for illegal short-term renting. 

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