New York City's booking service data reporting law does not change any of the laws that govern whether a short-term rental is legal or illegal, and it does not add any new fines or penalties for short-term rental hosts that they were not previously subject to. OSE is committed to educating hosts about the new law.
The following FAQ is only meant to address the data reporting law. For those seeking to determine whether the rental they host is legal, please be sure to review your building's legal occupancy, your lease or rental agreement, state and city laws, and seek legal advice when necessary.
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What is a "Booking Service"?
Popular short-term rental and vacation rental websites (such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and many others) are "Booking Services". A Booking Service is defined in the law as "a person who, directly or indirectly:
What is a "short-term rental"?
The data reporting law defines the term "short-term rental" as "a rental for occupancy of fewer than 30 consecutive days of (i) a dwelling unit or part thereof or (ii) housing accommodations within a building."
Do Booking Services need to report transactions for all short-term rental listings?
No. It depends on the type of listing, how many nights it gets booked during the reporting period, and what kind of rental it offers.
Which listings' transactions get reported?
Only advertisements that meet the definition of a "qualifying listing" are required to be reported by the Booking Service. A "qualifying listing" is a listing or advertisement that offers or appears to offer a short-term rental of either "an entire dwelling unit or housing accommodation," or "for three or more individuals at the same time." The full definition can be found in the law or the regulations.
Booking Services are not required to report transactions for listings that have four or fewer nights booked in a quarterly reporting period, or for listings offering occupancy in buildings on a list of Class B multiple dwellings that OSE will publish.
Is my short–term rental in a Class B multiple dwelling?
Probably not. Most residential buildings that people can rent or own to live in full time are not Class B multiple dwellings. The definition of a Class B multiple dwelling for purposes of this law is "a multiple dwelling which is occupied, as a rule, transiently, as the more or less temporary abode of individuals or families who are lodged with or without meals. This class includes hotels, lodging houses, rooming houses, boarding houses, boarding schools, furnished room houses, lodgings, club houses, and college and school dormitories."
If a Booking Service does not need to report my listing, does that mean my listing is legal?
No. Whether a Booking Service includes or does not include a listing in its report does not alter the legal occupancy, zoning, or use group of a building or portion thereof as described in the certificate of occupancy or as otherwise determined by the NYC Department of Buildings.
If a Booking Service still has my listing on its website, does that make the listing legal?
Will OSE conduct in person inspections of the property by appointment?
OSE will continue to conduct its inspections in order to ensure that building owners and residents are complying with the law. OSE does not provide advance notice of an inspection that seeks to observe illegal activity as it is occurring.
Will OSE use this information to monitor compliance with laws governing short-term rentals?
Yes. All information will be reviewed by the City of New York in order to help keep New York neighborhoods vibrant, stable, and livable. In neighborhoods where homes are being used for short-term rentals illegally, the comfort and safety of permanent residents and visitors alike is at risk. In these neighborhoods, the stock of available housing diminishes, and the distinctive character of the community changes. Illegal short-term rentals can be dangerous for neighbors, guests, and first responders, as they lack proper fire safety systems such as alarms and sprinklers, may not have enough exits in the event of an emergency, and can contain illegal alterations to the layout of the unit or the gas and electrical systems. OSE inspectors will be sent for inspections on a proactive basis as well as in response to 311 complaints in order to ensure that buildings are safe and occupied in compliance with the law.
Will information about past transactions be used for enforcement against hosts?
Yes. All information will be reviewed by the City of New York in order to help keep New York neighborhoods vibrant, stable, and livable, by protecting the stock of available housing and the comfort and safety of permanent residents and visitors alike. While hosts and building owners will generally not receive violations based solely on past activity, the data obtained will be used to develop enforcement, identify violators, improve inspections, and enhance litigation.
Will every listing reported by a Booking Service be inspected?
OSE will review all the data and determine which activity should be further investigated and inspected. As has always been the case, OSE seeks to focus its resources on hosts and listings that are taking away units of housing from New Yorkers, placing guests and neighbors in danger, or which are generating complaints to the office.
Despite this focus, all buildings in the City are subject to inspection to ensure compliance, and everyone breaking the law is potentially subject to enforcement.
Can I be penalized if a Booking Service does not include my listing in its report?
No. Pursuant to this law, only a Booking Service will be liable for a civil penalty for failing to submit a report in compliance with the reporting requirements. However, hosts are reminded that other laws existing before the data reporting law passed made it illegal to advertise short-term rentals in an apartment in a Class A multiple dwelling (generally, a building with three or more permanent residential units), or to allow short-term rentals in most apartments or homes that are either unhosted or for three or more guests.
Submit your question to OSE. We will review the question and update the FAQ section as needed.