A Message to Our New York City Hosts

Today, Airbnb co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk sent an email to Airbnb hosts in New York City on our settlement agreement with the City of New York.

Read the full message here:

I hope that this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. This has been a difficult moment for so many communities around the world—and especially for New Yorkers. Yet, even as many of you faced personal hardship, you opened your homes to frontline workers or supported guests stranded without a means to return home. Your strength and compassion are a testament to our mission, and for that Airbnb is forever grateful.

The power of this community is why, over the past five years, we have been committed to finding a path forward for home sharing with the City of New York. Alongside many of you, we’ve advocated for clear rules for short-term rentals. Nearly two years ago, we stood together against an information sharing ordinance by the City that would infringe on your privacy, and when this legislation passed, we asked a federal court to intervene. 

Today, we reached an agreement that will end our lawsuit regarding data sharing with New York City. 

I want to start by explaining what this means for you. The City’s ordinance will be amended to require that short-term rental platforms share information about listings, including but not limited to address and nights booked, with exceptions for private or shared room listings with two or fewer guest capacity and also any listing hosted for a total of four or less nights in the past quarter. This information will only be provided for hosts who have consented—but hosts who do not consent will not be able to list their home as a short-term rental. These new requirements will not go into effect until approximately six months after the ordinance passes. Once in effect, information sharing will only apply going forward: it will not apply to past activity on the platform. Additional information is available on our Help Center, and we will be holding a webinar for hosts during the week of June 29 to answer your questions.

I also want you to know why we have agreed to this settlement. First, compared to the City’s original ordinance, the exceptions and confidentiality provisions that will be included in the amended ordinance and the City’s related commitments will help safeguard the personal information of many hosts citywide, who would not otherwise have received those protections. 

Second, and most importantly, we believe this amended ordinance will build the trust necessary to enact further reforms of New York State’s short-term rentals regulations. We hope that our willingness to be transparent enables the State and the City to feel reassured that short-term rentals can be effectively regulated without blunt prohibitions. Now more than ever, regular New Yorkers should have the ability to occasionally share their home, activity that we believe should not be confused with illegal hotels. By sharing all relevant data, we hope to make this very clear to all those concerned. 

The next few months will be very important. In advance of the information sharing requirements taking effect, we, together with you, will need to advocate for sensible short-term rental laws. We want lawmakers to understand why responsible home sharing is important to you and can benefit the entire New York community, and we will be reaching out to you soon about how you can get involved.

Airbnb began during the Great Recession and New York City was one of our first communities, in part because many New Yorkers had lost their jobs. As we look ahead to the recovery from COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis, we know that more individuals and families than ever before will depend on additional sources of income to make ends meet—and we will stand ready to help New Yorkers again during this pivotal time.

Many thanks, 

Nate Blecharczyk