Wednesday, July 21, 2010
One last chance to save the vacation rental option in New York City
The apartment also happened to be in the old Jewish Quarter of Rome, so we got a delightful peek at the real life of Rome. In the evenings, we saluted our neighbors across the way as they ate on their balcony and we fed our daughter and sipped wine. After a few days, the counterpeople in the shops started to treat us like old friends. And we started to feel like we were "home" when we rounded the corner onto our narrow street.
It was a magical experience, the first of many rental vacations for us.
We've been lucky to have been allowed to "live like a local" on vacations. Those who will follow in our footsteps are going to find more and more obstructions in their path.
As I reported on this blog, Paris is now starting to enforce its ban on rentals of less than a year. Similar bans are already in effect in Maui County, Hawaii (Maui, Molokai and Lanai) and Las Vegas.And the Big Apple may be next.
Several weeks ago, a bill passed the state senate in New York, making it illegal to rent out an apartment for less than 30 days in New York City. I had assumed that the bill had been signed into law by Governor Patterson, but it turns out I was wrong. He is expected to sign it tomorrow.
Which is just enough time to launch a protest and, hopefully, get the Governor to look more closely at the bill. A number of rental agents in New York City have put together a petition which will be sent to the Governor, hopefully with many, many signatures on it. I think the arguments they put forward in it are sensible and straightforward. Briefly, they cover the loss of tax revenue to the city (as guests in short term rentals pay the same taxes hotel guests do), the damage to small businesses that cater to these tourists (who may now choose a more affordable destination) and the overreaching of the government on the issue of property rights. One of the stated purposes of the bill, to protect tourists against con artists, will actually be undermined by the new law. If it passes, I have no doubt there will soon be a black market of vacation rentals and that's bad news for everyone.
To view the petition, go to http://protect-vacation-rentals.com/2010/07/20/petition-veto-bill-s6873. I hope you'll join me in clicking the button and being counted! There's no reason why visitors to the most expensive city in this hemisphere shouldn't be able to take advantage of this lodging option.
(Photo by Josey Showaa)