New York Daily News—by Kenneth Lovett—An anti-Airbnb coalition is creating a hotline for New York City tenants to blow the whistle on illegal short-term rentals on the home-sharing service, the Daily News has learned.
ShareBetter, a coalition of politicians, housing and tenant groups, and unions, says the hotline is designed to assist New Yorkers in filing “actionable complaints” against Airbnb illegal short-term rentals.
“Airbnb is clearly unwilling to bring its operation into compliance with the law, so we have to do the job ourselves,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan). “This new hotline will educate, engage and mobilize neighborhood residents to stand up to Airbnb by filing complaints that will help the city with enforcement actions.”
The hotline will be live beginning Tuesday and promoted via targeted digital media and engaging tenants in areas where Airbnb is most used, organizers said.
It will be staffed with live operators from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
It will also have a message service that will forward after-hour calls that can be returned the next working day.
Hotline operators will have a list of questions similar to what city Office of Special Enforcement and 311 orators use to identify the location and nature of the complaint along with other details.
ShareBetter retained Elan Parra, the one-time director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to oversee the hotline.
The hotline number is 646-979-4117.
Airbnb spokesman said Peter Schottenfels said that “is nothing more than another attempt to pit neighbor against neighbor by a shady hotel front group grasping at straws to protect their ability to price gouge.”
He said Airbnb already has its own “neighbors hotline” for New Yorkers to use if they are concerned about listings in their areas.