2015-11-25 / Political Page

VAN BRAMER SLAMS AIRBNB FOR RENTING OUT AFFORDABLE LIC HOUSING UNITS:


Standing outside of Hunters Point South Crossing, Council Member Van Bramer was joined by New Yorkers who have applied and have not been selected for a variety of the City’s affordable housing development lotteries throughout the five boroughs. Together they expressed why Airbnb needs to be held accountable for allowing tax-subsidized affordable housing units to be posted as illegal hotels on their website. Standing outside of Hunters Point South Crossing, Council Member Van Bramer was joined by New Yorkers who have applied and have not been selected for a variety of the City’s affordable housing development lotteries throughout the five boroughs. Together they expressed why Airbnb needs to be held accountable for allowing tax-subsidized affordable housing units to be posted as illegal hotels on their website. Airbnb, the rental agency on the internet was blasted by City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for renting out apartments at Hunters Point South Living in Long Island City, an affordable housing facility which bars residents from subletting their apartments.

Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside) declared, “Considering all of the hard work that it took to build affordable housing at the 900-plus apartment development, certain unnamed residents in the tax-subsidized waterfront high-rise rented their apartments for $500 per night through Airbnb, according to Van Bramer.

“More than 90,000 people applied for just over 900 apartments… and now Airbnb is providing a platform that turns rental units into illegal hotels. Airbnb should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer added, “The city is in the midst of a serious housing crisis, and there are many of us who are working diligently to use all available tools to create affordable housing. It is to the detriment of everything we attempt to accomplish for everyday New Yorkers when Airbnb refused to play by the rules just to make a quick buck.”

Continuing, Van Bramer said, “Given that Airbnb has shown a blatant disregard for following the law, the city government should do several things to prevent this activity from taking place:

•First, the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement should use some of their new resources to investigate this and other instances of illegal hotel use in rent-regulated and rent stabilized buildings.

•Second, the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, which recently concluded very illuminating hearings on Airbnb, should conduct additional hearings that focus specifically on the proliferation of Airbnb in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized buildings.

•Third, I am working on legislation that will establish penalties for renters who live in subsidized units and are found guilty of taking advantage of rent-stabilized and/or rent-controlled units for profit as illegal hotels on sites like Airbnb.”

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