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Help Make Vacation Rentals in NYC Legal Again

Please help us amend the law that went into effect on May 1st making it illegal to rent your apartment out to anyone for less than 30 days.  Submitting a letter to NY State Senators and Assembly members will help you and the rest of us in the short term rental industry get our message out that we provide a necessary service and that our industry is populated by good actors rather than the cases of illegal hostels and SROs that have been seen in the press recently.  By writing a letter and pressing submit, your opinion will be sent via email to every senator and assembly member in New York State.  We would also appreciate it if you could write a hard copy of your letter and also send it by regular post to all of the senators and assembly members in New York State.  A full list of Senator addresses is included here: http://www.nysenate.gov/report/member-directory-3112011, a full list of assembly members is included here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/

Background
Senator Golden and Assembly member Ming have recently introduced bills to the New York State Senate and Assembly (bill numbers S4263.A/A8175.A) that are intended to clarify provisions relating to occupancy of class A multiple dwellings. The purpose of the bills is to provide an exemption for a specific class of good actors that rent certain class A multiple dwelling units on a short-term basis. The law passed last year (L.  2010, Ch. 225) was created in response to an on-going issue in New York City with single room occupancy (SRO) buildings being used as illegal hotels. This bills do not serve these types of illegal hotels, but rather helps those legitimate individuals that use certain units as vacation rentals, thereby providing tax revenue and tourism dollars to the state and city. Further, the paradigm created by this proposal would further help to eliminate the type of illegal short-term use of class A units that the 2010 law sought.

Last year's law was written to encompass a greater universe than was intended. While it will attempt to phase out short-term SR0s, it also is ridding New York State of a legitimate business model:  short term vacation rental units. These short term units provide tax income to New York and tourism dollars to the areas in which they are located. They should not be confused with the small single room living spaces that are SROs which often get associated with decrepitude, poor maintenance, and numerous building and health code violations. Vacation rental units should also not be confused with the illegal class A building hotels that often contain subdivided units and an excess-occupancy such that fire and safety codes are not complied with.

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We would appreciate it if you could write your own letter to the senators. A sample letter is included at the bottom of this page.  However, if you do not have time, please select the “Standard Letter” option below:
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Sample Letter

Dear Legislative Member ,

I am writing to urge your support for bill numbers S4263.A/A8175.A introduced by Senator Golden and Assembly member Meng to clarify provisions relating to occupancy of class A multiple dwellings. I am an operator of a Class A Multiple Dwelling Unit located in NYC that I currently use for short-term vacation rentals.

This Act will restore and redefine the short-term vacation rental industry, an industry that has played an important role in New York State tourism. The Act will permit specific vacation rental operators in Class A Multiple Dwellings to continue to operate without being in violation of the permanent residency requirements now found in the Multiple Dwelling Law. The Act further establishes a permit system that will regulate the industry, enhance safety and insurance requirements, ensure the appropriate collection of taxes, establish licensing fees, and provide safe-guards to protect against bad actors.

The vacation rental industry must not be confused with single room occupancy hotels (“SROs”) and not with illegal hostels that have been in the press recently. The vacation rental industry has gone to great lengths to ensure that their units are in compliance with building and health code requirements. The Act provides further protection to ensure that SROs will be unable to use this legislation to continue to operate. The Act requires that a vacation rental unit is a unit that does not provide single room occupancy and that the unit contains a bathroom and a kitchen.

The short-term vacation rental industry has been an important aspect of the New York economy for years, as it has been in major tourist destinations around the country and the globe, providing an alternative option to hotel rentals for tourists, families coming for extended stays to New York, business people on prolonged business trips and family members visiting loved ones in NYC hospitals. The vacation rental industry brings important tourism dollars to the local economy from many people that would not otherwise visit the city if the option of staying in an apartment was not available. As you probably know, the prices of hotels in NYC are the highest in the country and hotel space is limited making hotel stays of over 2 or 3 days not an option for most families or people on extended stays.

My colleagues and I are not running a hostel, or a noisy space for backpacking students but rather well run, safe and well maintained apartment units for families and respectable visitors.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of this important bill. I would be happy to discuss with you about the implications of this legislation for the Vacation Rental industry. I urge you to carefully look at this issue and consider providing it your support.

Sincerely,