Short-Term Rentals Seen as Potential Boon to New York’s Financial Recovery

Polling finds New Yorkers see tourism as an integral aspect of state’s economy and increasingly support allowing New York City residents to rent out their homes on Airbnb.

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo added multiple short-term rental taxes to his budget as part of a multi-pronged effort to shore-up New York’s pandemic recovery. We see this as an important first step in utilizing short-term rentals to help build significant revenue for the state, its counties and New York City. 

Airbnb has long advocated for broad tax collection in New York, supporting legislation that would make this possible since 2016. In fact, unlike many of our competitors, we’ve led the way on tax collection in New York, entering into voluntary collection agreements with 34 of the state’s 62 counties over the last several years. In 2019 alone, Airbnb collected and remitted approximately $3.3 million of  accommodation taxes to New York Counties. 

We are again proposing a comprehensive framework for short-term rentals in the state that would not only increase tax revenue at a time when the state needs it most, but also legitimize certain types of home sharing to provide supplemental income to New Yorkers. 

Once travel is deemed safe, the rapid return of tourism could provide a necessary boon to New York’s recovery and Airbnb can be a major contributor through tax revenues and safe, convenient and affordable lodging options for visitors, especially those traveling with families. Polling confirms that most New Yorkers see tourism as an integral part of the state’s economy.

Tourism seen as essential by New Yorkers 

Two recent polls, one of New York City voters and one of New York residents living outside of New York City*, show that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers see tourism as being a positive influence in their communities, and the decline in tourism because of the COVID-19 pandemic as being a very negative development.

  • 87% of New York City voters believe that tourism was good for the City, including 7 out of 10 who believe that it was very good. 
  • 71% of New Yorkers residing outside of New York City say tourism is good for their local area, while only 4 percent say it is bad.

Respondents were also asked whether they believe the downturn in tourism resulting from  the pandemic is good or bad for their local area. 

More than two-thirds of New York City voters (68%) say that the decline has been bad for the City.  This includes a majority (51%) who say it has been very bad for the City.

Meanwhile, three out of four (75%) New York residents living outside of New York City say the decline in tourism has been bad for their local area.

New Yorkers are increasingly supportive of Airbnb

The poll also found that more than two thirds of New York City voters also believe that New Yorkers should be allowed to rent out their home or a portion of their home through Airbnb, while only 23 percent oppose. Compared with November 2018, this represents a four-point increase in the percentage of New Yorkers who believe people should be allowed to rent their homes on Airbnb, including an 11-point increase in the percentage who strongly support allowing home sharing in New York City. 

We’re pleased the state has recognized the important role short-term rentals can play in New York’s recovery. We hope that 2021 will be the year New York joins dozens of other states in passing sensible short-term rental rules that protect economic opportunity and drive tourism forward, while adding significant tax revenue for the state. 

*DBR conducted a survey of 1000 registered New York City voters who voted in the November 2020 election from December 9 – 14, 2021. Half of interviews were conducted via telephone (both cell phone and landline) and half were conducted via text message. Respondents were reached via contact information associated with their voter registrations. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.1%.

In addition, DBR conducted a separate online survey of 1,000 adult New York City residents living outside of New York City from December 9-17, 2020. Participants in this survey were reached via online panel. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.1%.