Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One last chance to save the vacation rental option in New York City

When my older daughter was just a year and a half, we rented our first vacation apartment. It had a little kitchen, a living room with a cot for our daughter and a lovely balcony overlooking a garden which was big enough for a table and four chairs. The roominess of the apartment, its low cost (as compared to local hotels) and the cooking facilities made life for our traveling family very pleasant that week.

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 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)


  1. I'm so amused at how your vacation went, but by the end, I felt so sad. Don't worry about that my dear. I'm perfectly sure that there are many more beautiful sceneries and more interesting vacation spots other than what you found in New York City. If you're planning out to go to a city like New York, I'd like to suggest Costa Rica. That place is just perfect for your family to have an exciting and adventurous vacation!

  2. When you're planning an out of town vacation, you have to make sure that you'll have a nice place to stay. This will help you relax after a long day of fun and exploring your new place. If possible, you can ask from friends and relatives options of great condos and houses when you've already decided where to go on vacation. That can be a great help for you. :)

  3. Planning a vacation can take a long time, but that can assure you that you’ll be able to do anything that you want to. Write down a list of places that you want to visit, rentals that you're planning to stay at, and souvenirs that you want to collect. In this manner, you'll be sure that you won't miss anything on your fantastic vacation. :)