WASHINGTON D.C. —­­ Last week, the New York legislature passed a bill that, if signed into law, would impose fines ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 for advertising apartment rentals under 30 days.

The bill comes as a follow-up to a law enacted in 2011 making it illegal to rent out an entire apartment or home for shorter than 30 days. Legislators claim the laws are intended to shut down illegal hotel operations, but they also prevent New Yorkers from earning extra income by renting out unused space.

This bill is not only harmful for New Yorkers, it also violates federal law,” said Tom Struble, Policy Counsel for TechFreedom. “By attempting to fine home-sharing platforms like AirBnB, the New York government would violate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents platforms from being held liable for the actions of its users.”

The protections of Section 230 have been critical to the growth of online services,” Struble continued. “As the gig economy grows, these protections must remain in place to allow these platforms to provide new economic opportunities for users. Laws like this have the potential to completely undermine development of this new economic sector.”

Instead of enacting broad laws that restrict citizens’ property rights, New York should work with home-sharing platforms and the people who use them to craft rules that make sense,” concluded Struble. “States and localities struggling to adapt to the gig economy should look to the example of Arizona, which passed a sensible regulatory framework that protects consumers while still maintaining the rights of property owners.”


We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on the sharing economy, including: