Activists propose Airbnb ban to deter investors amid housing crisis

Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey was one of several people at a grassroots news conference Thursday who are concerned about outside investors buying homes and renting them on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

Blaise Gomez

Jul 21, 2022, 7:43 PM

Updated 672 days ago

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The City of Newburgh is one of several Hudson Valley communities ripe for revitalization – with inexpensive, old homes ready to be bought and fixed up. 
Some efforts, however, are taking a modern turn – with what some say are unwanted effects.
“We are in a crisis,” says Mayor Torrance Harvey. “People are being priced out and pushed out.” 
Harvey was one of several people at a grassroots news conference Thursday who are concerned about outside investors buying homes and renting them on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. 
“It’s taking up a huge percentage of our housing stock that could be used for long-term housing, leading to a major housing shortage and making the housing crisis worse,” said local activist Brahvan Ranga. 
Supporters of short-term rentals, however, say they bring in tourism, revenue and hotel tax. 
Activists say homeownership and affordable housing is the trade-off and want to crack down in communities seeing huge growth in the market - like Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Kingston and New Paltz. 
“The problem is not a working or middle-class family or individual trying to rent out a spare bedroom to make extra cash, it’s investors,” said Ranga.
They want communities to adopt a short-term rental registry that requires homeowners provide proof they live in the property and want platforms require users follow local guidelines. 
“Having affordability in the City of Newburgh is super important to us,” said Harvey. 
Many communities have short-term rental laws, but critics say they’re hard to enforce. 
The group is calling on Albany lawmakers to step in with a state law that includes penalties for not complying. 


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