Eventhough the relationship between Airbnb hosts and elected officials is still not totally harmonious, Airbnb is thriving in the Bronx.
According to a Wednesday, February 15 press release from the home sharing company, 22,000 tourists stayed in the Bronx through Airbnb in 2016, which is up 107 percent – or approximately 11,000 – from 2015.
Monetarily, earnings for Airbnb hosts rose 75 percent from $2 million in 2015 to 2016 in the amount of $3.5 million.
Airbnb’s growth in the Bronx comes at a time of controversy surrounding homesharing.
In 2016, homesharing supporters were fighting elected officials in NY who were trying to ensure landlords were not illegally renting out their properties through companies such as Airbnb.
Senator Jeff Klein and other electeds were afraid that landlords would take affordable housing and rent it on a short term basis using Airbnb’s app to increase their profit.
In New York, it is illegal to rent an apartment to a tenant for less than 30-days.
A bill in early 2016, that was signed into law in October, imposes $7,500 fines on landlord’s if they violate the law.
Airbnb hosts feel the fine structure is not large enough to discourage landlords from breaking the law.
After battling in court over the law, Airbnb and the city were able to reach a settlement on December 2, 2016 in which, according to an Airbnb representative, the two sides agreed to “work cooperatively on ways to address New York City’s permanent housing shortage, including through host compliance with Airbnb’s One Host, One Home policy.”
According to the settlement, if a host violates the law, the city would charge them as an individual violator, with no repercussions against Airbnb.
Airbnb hosts share their homes in large part to supplement their income.
According to Airbnb, on average a host can earn $3,800 per year.
“It just helps out with the additional income,” said Melrose resident Lisa Tejeda. “I was able to do upgrades to my house which the guests can take advantage of too.”
The 14-year Bronx resident said when she began hosting in 2011, she had one visitor every few months.
“Now I can be booked everyday for a month if I wanted,” she said.
Tejeda also discussed the reason so many people select the Bronx as a destination to stay.
“I think people want to see different kinds of culture,” said Tejeda. “In Manhattan and Brooklyn I think you get a lot of the same thing.”
In addition, she said the Bronx offers great tourist spots such as Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Garden.
However, she adds, if people want to visit some of the more common city attractions – such as Times Square – the Bronx is a very convenient location.
Tejeda said if Bronx residents are thinking about joining Airbnb they should dip their feet in the water.
“I always say ‘just give it a try one time,’” she said.
In addition, she said prospective hosts should visit Airbn