New York passed a new law on home-sharing to regulate Airbnb business

Last week New York imposed a regulation on Airbnb to disclose hosts’ information and transaction data to the authority. Under the new law Airbnb will have to report hosts’ information such as names and addresses through electronic reports. The regulation aims to combat against illegal short-term rentals and will go into effect in 180 days. Non-compliance will result in heavy fines.

Launched in 2008, Airbnb is a home-rental company rising from the new sharing economy. Like most businesses in the new economy to traditional industries, Airbnb has brought disruptions to the hotel industry. The new New York law aims to clamp down on unlicensed guesthouses and the rising housing stock resulted from short-term rentals. However the law may also infringe on hosts’ privacy.

The New York law was not the first authoritative attempt to regulate Airbnb businesses. Early this year Japan passed a stringent home-sharing regulation to ask hosts to register their listing and limit home-sharing in Japan to 180 days a year. Local governments in Japan are enforcing even stricter regulations in their areas. For example in Yokohama, Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Nerima, Bunkyo, etc home-sharing is banned on weekdays. The stringent law led to Airbnb dropping almost 80% of its Japanese listings.

As the new sharing economy emerged and thrived, new business models such as the Airbnb home-sharing developed ahead of regulations. While the new model injects dynamic energy into the business through introducing unique traveller experience, there are problems beyond regulation such as hosts avoiding lodging taxes, safety issues, blows to housing markets, etc. The new law will be able to tackle illegal rentals by keeping an eye on hosts to combat hosts that rent apartments that forbid short-term rentals, commercial operators that run unlicensed listings, etc. By curbing illegal rentals, more housing can be released back to the market. The regulation also secured the service with a regulated list of hosts. Despite all the advantages expected to come with the law, the law will almost ruin the original idea of sharing spare home space to people with a charge and strangle the model of creating values out of available resources.

The tension between the hotel industry and the new sharing economy has been an issue that needs to be resolved. More similar regulatory attempts are expected to come in future. The public should pay attention to the development.


紐約新法案打擊Airbnb共享業務

上星期紐約簽署法案規定Airbnb向當局提交屋主資料和交易訊息,包括屋主姓名和地址等,以電子報告的形式每月向紐約當局提交,用以打擊非法出租。新法於簽署後180天起生效,違例將予以嚴重罰款。

Airbnb於2008年成立,是共享經濟下迅速發展的房屋共享公司。許多共享經濟的公司或業務對傳統行業帶來顛覆性影響,而Airbnb也不例外,對酒店業造成衝擊。紐約市的新法旨於打擊非法租賃和短期出租帶來的房租上漲、空房率下隆的問題。然而新法將侵犯屋主私隱。

紐約並非首個對Airbnb業務進行規管的地區,今年初日本亦頒布針對民宿出租的嚴厲新法,民宿經營者需進行登記,出租期一年內亦不得多於180日,地區政府更進一步收緊做法,例如在橫濱、東京新宿、練馬、文京區等,民宿經營者不得在星期一至五出租房屋。新法下,Airbnb的日本民宿近八成下架。

共享經濟發展蓬勃,嶄新的商業經濟模式發展日新月異,不受法例規範和監管。雖然Airbnb的經營模式為旅客帶來獨特的住宿體驗,為行業注入活力和新意,但不受法例監管卻造成各項問題,例如屋主逃稅、住客安全問題、地區房租上漲等等。新法可望有效打擊非法的短期房屋租賃,並杜絕商戶經營未登記的物業等等。打擊非法租賃可把更多物業放回市場,同時屋主受監管安障了住客。然而,新法將扼殺透過共享閒置資源創造更大價值的概念。

酒店業和共享經濟間的衝突有待解決。未來對共享經濟模式將有更多的規管行為,大眾亦應留意發展。