NY Hotels Upset Over More Efficient 'Home' Competition; Gets Politicians To Try To Outlaw Such Things

from the not-this-again dept

We've seen it time and time again. The internet enables people to communicate directly with each other and create more efficient solutions than some larger (often regulated) industry, and that industry freaks out. Remember how a bus company freaked out about an online carpooling service and had it fined for being an "unregulated transportation company?" It looks like something similar, though in a different field, is happening in New York. With hotels in the Big Apple being ridiculously expensive much of the time, people have taken to Craigslist, as well as some specific services like AirBnB, Crashpadder and Roomorama, to find residents willing to rent out their rooms or apartments on a short-term basis -- for much lower prices.

But, of course, that upsets the hotels, which have their high prices and don't like the competition. So, it seems they've convinced politicians to try to effectively outlaw the practice:
This week, New York state senators vote on a bill that would make it illegal for any homeowner or renter to sublet for less than a month. The new law would be a blanket ban on short-term rentals -- no matter how ethical the renter is.
Of course, as we always see with these types of laws, the politicians couch them in terms of the need for regulation for things like "protecting tax revenue" or "safety standards." But, of course, there are plenty of other ways to deal with those issues outside of outlawing the practice entirely. The reality of the situation is that the internet has made it so that people can be more efficient in things like transportation or short-term housing, and the old guard doesn't like it one bit, so they come up with regulations like these to outlaw it, even though it greatly harms the public, who get more out of using such services.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:33am

    i dont think it is a problem to rent a room for less than a month, but then, they would need to conform to all the laws, rules, and tax schedules that apply to short term rentals. you see mike, you cannot have it both ways. if a hotel is subject to a tax and limited to 30 day stays (many places do this), and anyone else who plays in the same field should be subject to the same laws and insurance requirements.

    by your logic, gypsy cabs are okay and legal, and a great idea. they provide a service at a much lower price than a taxi, often similar in price to a bus. oh, but they dont have commercial insurance, or training, or any of the other things that comes with a legal provider. but that is okay, its home brew, it is entrepreneurs in action, so we should applaud them, not fine them.

    both situations fall down when someone dies, gets hurt, or gets robbed for no reason. but you knew that, right?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:50am

      Re:

      TAM, I, you, what? You can't troll by making a valid argument.

      Instead of spending money of implementing this new law, couldn't they require short-term renters to comply with afore-mentioned laws, rules, and tax schedules? Throw some fines for rule-breakers and not only have you generated money for the city and economy, but created jobs (short-term rental inspectors).

      It wont be 100% (and we all know what government intervention can do to the market), but isn't this better than an outright ban?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re:

        if they can conform to existing laws there should be no ban. but that would mean all existing laws, including safety, construction, marked exits, fire rules, bedding materials, washrooms, handicap access, commercial insurance, off street parking, and so on. at minimum, whatever the standards are set for bed and breakfast type operations.

        "NY Hotels Upset Over More Efficient 'Home' Competition" - of course it is effecient, because they are not following the laws, just skirting them. that isnt effeciency, that is expediency at the risk of harming their visitors. as always, if you want to play in a market place, play by the rules or push for new rules - but dont just ignore them and operate illegally.

         

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          Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          f course it is effecient, because they are not following the laws, just skirting them. that isnt effeciency, that is expediency at the risk of harming their visitors. as always, if you want to play in a market place, play by the rules or push for new rules - but dont just ignore them and operate illegally.

          Rubbish!

          What has happened here is that perfectly legal arrangements that have operated in private for many years with no problem - and no objection from the commercial operators - have suddenly been "amplified" by the internet - and at the same time become visible to the commercial outfits.

          As far as health and safety is concerned there should be no concern. If my house is safe for me and my family to live in then it is safe for a guest - whether that guest is my cousin, an old friend or someone I just met. Whether I receive payment makes no difference. Of course if I am putting people up in an old warehouse that does not conform to fire regs then that is different - but that is not the type of operation that we are discussing here.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Exactly, residential houses are subject to building codes just as well and should be presumed safe.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In a competitive market if one hotel is unsafe I can more easily switch to a safer competitor. In a less competitive market I have fewer options and as a result I will have more difficulty switching to a safer competitor. This gives hotels less incentive to ensure safety and so people will have to pay more for a safer hotel. Competition brings forth better safety at a cheaper price.

             

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              darryl, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "In a competitive market if one hotel is unsafe I can more easily switch to a safer competitor. In a less competitive market I have fewer options and as a result I will have more difficulty switching to a safer competitor. "

              that is why safety and price are not related, that is why there are specific minimum standards that have to be met, regardless of the price.

              Safety is not a price issue, you dont not skimp on safety to save money. That is not only illegal, but immoral.

              Also, its not up to the customer, client to have to assess the safety of a place they intent to stay, there is an expectation of safety, and an expectation of service.

              Not everyone is a qualified safety inspector, nor should they be, it is up to the business owners/managers to meet those minimum requirements.

              That applies to accomidation, taxis, well everything actually, sure it may be more efficient and cheaper to use non certified parts in an aircraft, but the laws and standards that are in place to ensure a minimum standard of safety, the expectation of safety. Is more or a natural right, as well as enshrined in law.

              To restrict people cutting corners on health and safety is expected by the populus of the prividers of the service.

              We expect certain minimum standards of safety when we get into a taxi, bus, train, plain, house, hotel, street and so on. There are rules the ensure you are safe, and laws to ensure that if you happen to be hurt there is a method of providing insurance to support you.

              You cannot expect that from a private unlicenses citizen, they will not be able to provide a minimum standard of safety and insurance. So if your hurt and hurt badly, (most accidents occur in the home), then again your screwed, is it worth it for a cheap nights accomidation ?

              No its not..

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "that is why safety and price are not related, that is why there are specific minimum standards that have to be met, regardless of the price."

                No one is against standards and safety and yes, safety and prices are related, even you argue that in previous posts when you say, "yes, it is efficient mike. but so is an elevator with the cables cut off, it is very efficient on the way down" (and I'm assuming it's the same person because both posts share the same stupidity. You can deny it but Mike sees the hostmasks and can point out your lies if you choose to lie about it). But what you want is simply to reduce competition just to increase price not for the sake of ensuring safety but for the sake of increasing price and profits towards special interest groups. It has nothing to do with safety, as if you're better able to determine what constitutes a safe home and neighborhood better than those actually renting the place and as if you're better at knowing what's in their best interest than them. If you think that some hotel is safer no one is stopping you from going there.

                and competition and safety are related too, competition brings forth better product quality at a better price and product quality is partly a function of safety.

                "Safety is not a price issue, you dont not skimp on safety to save money. That is not only illegal, but immoral."

                No one said anyone should reduce safety to save money and no one is doing that. This is not an issue of safety, the hotels who are lobbying for these laws do not care about safety they are more interested in their own personal welfare. If the people really wanted these laws they would simply choose hotels over residential areas on their own without any laws in place. The laws are for the sole benefit of the hotel lobbyists. and residential areas are also subject to building codes. Why should I trust those who stand to benefit the most from these monopoly laws, those with a conflict of interest in the matter, to tell me what is in my best interest or to tell me that safety is the issue here.

                "Also, its not up to the customer, client to have to assess the safety of a place they intent to stay, there is an expectation of safety, and an expectation of service."

                Regarding service, there is an expectation that the place will deliver what is promised in the ad. and if not, the client can sue, just like with a hotel.

                "Not everyone is a qualified safety inspector, nor should they be, it is up to the business owners/managers to meet those minimum requirements."

                No one said otherwise, and the same holds to residential areas. We hold them up to standards and sue them if they break those standards. No different.

                "That applies to accomidation, taxis, well everything actually

                ...

                To restrict people cutting corners on health and safety is expected by the populus of the prividers of the service."

                Again, requiring standards and granting monopolies are two different things. No one is against standards, to say otherwise is a dishonest strawman and you know it.

                "You cannot expect that from a private unlicenses citizen, they will not be able to provide a minimum standard of safety and insurance."

                and why not? Residential areas have building codes too.

                So these standards only apply if you are renting for under 30 days? That makes a lot of sense. TAM, you're trolling and you know it. You're wrong, dishonestly so.

                It is perfectly possible for unlicensed citizens to provide these standards.

                and if a license really is needed then why don't they provide the opportunity for citizens to get FREE licenses without having to pay monthly renewal fees? Pass a test, get a license, done deal. This isn't about safety, it's about monopoly. The hotels want this not for safety but for their own bottom lines.

                and regarding taxi cab drivers, they already have a drivers license and they will likely provide more safety than a non taxi cab driver being that a taxi cab driver specifically drives more and hence are more familiar with the road and how to drive safely and won't have to worry about directions as much since they know them better through experience. So requiring someone to pick you up from the airport because taxi cab drivers are artificially too expensive is in fact more dangerous than having more taxi cab drivers do it at lower prices.

                 

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                Any Mouse, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:13am

                You really think it'll work?

                Let me drop a scenario for you. One that easily could happen, since, you know, you can't legislate this away. Won't happen, no matter what the law.

                'I can't legally charge you from the room or food, but if you could contribute $20/$30/whatever, it would be greatly appreciated. Per day.'

                Try to prove they're doing something illegal. The boarder is just 'helping out.'

                 

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                  Any Mouse, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:29am

                  Re: You really think it'll work?

                  Yeah, I know my numbers are small. What can I say? I got a $200/mth mortgage and a spare bedroom.

                   

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                Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Strawman again.

                These B&B arrangements are quite legal. All residential buildings are already subject to appropriate building regulations and there is no reason to suppose that they are any less safe than spending the night in your own home. The reason for regulation of large hotels is that their very size introduces dangers that do not exist for smaller buildings. In return for the regulation the large hotel gets the economies of scale.

                If they still cannot compete then that is their problem.

                Remember we are not talking about health and safety laws here - we are talking about a new law, the only purpose of which is to protect the business of the big hotels.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Are you saying that every house is unsafe for potential guests? People live safely in their own homes. Guests will be just as safe as the family living there with or without payment. The whole safety argument makes no sense. The only think that might be unsafe is staying in Jamaica, Queens.

                 

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's funny how few people are actually harmed by these "dangerous" practices.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re:

        In NYC, this is a common issue as hotels are ridiculously priced. Outside of NYC, the problem comes when there is some event which can sell out hotels, but only happens once a year (making it uneconomical to built and maintain rooms year-round). New York State, like many others, is in a fiscal crisis. Unless establishing a new enforcement division pays immediate dividends (as in yesterday), no way any legislator is adding to the bureaucracy. Not with so many gov't employees getting laid off and our budget long overdue.

        The problem is that short-term renters who abide by the rules would then become bed and breakfasts, which contrary to Yogi's view, are not outlawed (a B&B is a licensed inn, not someone letting you use your home, apartment, or spare room for a few days) or motels. Often, the people renting are not looking to really run a business. They just want to earn $$ on the side, little things like fire codes, safety requirements, insurance requirements, income taxes, etc. be damned.

         

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      chris (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:16am

      Re:



      wow, i had no idea that it was legal to kill, injure, and orb people in my home in new york. why do new yorkers get have all the fun :-(

       

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      Deepak Thomas, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

      Re:

      Gypsy cabs are an absolutely great idea. Well, they could be - if the value they provide i.e. utility adjusted for price, exceeds that provided by regulated cabs, consumers will choose them over the regulated alternative. If not, they'll simply perish as an idea due to the superior regulated alternative.
      In this particular case, have you considered the alternative to taxing the entrepreneur? How about reducing the tax burden on the hotels so they can actually deliver more value, especially because they're capable of running a more sophisticated operation, have scale etc. I'd think more about increasing consumer surplus (adverse outcomes for the consumer would obviously diminish this), rather than maintaining a certain status quo.

       

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      davis, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

      Re: wrong analogy

      your analogy is wrong here,going by your theory, then buying or selling an item or service from sites such as craigslist should be illegal too. The product or service comes with no guarantee or warranty, you choose to buy it and you should have the freedom to sell and buy like this.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:26pm

      Re:

      I would argue that only when people actually start dying, getting hurt or getting robbed should it be regulated. If people are able to self regulate themselves, why does govt have to? When individuals get large enough in that field that they start to unfairly compete against each other, then it needs to be regulated. There shouldn't be any regulation just because another industry or fat cat doesn't like it. These excuses are a red herring.

       

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    Yogi, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Insane

    This is crazy. You mean bed and breakfast is outlawed in New York?

    Does anybody there have any concept of democracy? The more I read this blog, the less I like the U.S. - it seems like basically a corporate dictatorship. Not too far away from the vision outlined in Space Merchants.

     

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      Designerfx (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:25am

      Re: Insane

      seems like?

      it absolutely is, and we're all quite pissed. Legislative and as a result the executive branch are way out of balance of power with the other branch of government right now. At the moment the judicial branch has very firm policies to avoid going against precedent, which ends up meaning that anything legislative passes judicial will not challenge at all unless it cannot be avoided. This is sadly well known by lawyers. This is why it often takes significant effort by the public to get results from anything. That and the public is known for being pretty much retarded. Maybe 10% of our population uses logic, and the other 90% has a distinct absence of logic.
      For all the advancements we have, there is a resultant excess of nepotism and corporatism.

      the problem is, if people try to violently change that, ala revolution, we'll end up worse off by having some dumbass military dictator who outlaws anything that isn't his own version of "christian values".

       

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        Don, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re: Insane

        or "socialist values".

         

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        Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re: Insane

        Somehow, this reminds me greatly of Nicholo Machiavelli's "The Last Prince"

        It's going to be interesting to see how the US develops in the years to come as corporate interests are taking over each branch of government...

         

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          Designerfx (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Insane

          unlike legislative and executive branches, judicial at its highest levels cannot be bought off. Having our supreme court as it is structured exclusively prevents that. Sadly, we don't have the same for the other branches.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Insane

            You have one of three options.

            Tyrant state: No elections, no politicians can be bought off. Politicians can do what they want, judges can do what they want, etc... and not worry about losing power except to violent revolution.

            Elections with campaign contributions: Politicians can be bought off by special interest groups. Money talks. The important thing here is for people to ensure an open communication system which laws basically deny us outside the Internet.

            Elections with VERY limited to no campaign contributions. Special interest groups will find ways to legally and indirectly and illegally funnel money towards the politicians they like best.

            The solution isn't some political structure, any political system is subject to corruption. The solution is for the citizens to keep themselves informed about various issues and to quickly and cooperatively work together to protest against unjust laws. While elections are important so are protests.

             

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      Kevin, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:14am

      Re: Insane

      Of course the one city that charges 500 a night to stay in a 10 by 10, flea bag is naturally up in arms that intelligence is winning out over insanity.

       

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      JB, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

      Re: Insane

      The U.S. is not a democracy. It a democratic republic. Does anybody here have any concept of liberty?

       

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    dark helmet ....home cooking

    LOL you know what i mean

    Home building is destroying the construction industry.-CROCK
    "Yes, folks, home building is killing the construction industry. Why won't Congress and the USTR deal with this pernicious problem?"

    Hell yeah! And let's not forget those that are REALLY responsible. Yes, I'm talking about that most evil person who hides behind that age old lie, "But I'm not DOING the home building, I'm just SHOWING them how!"... See More

    Yes, folks, I'm talking about TIM the TOOL MAN. Can you imagine how much less fun home building would threaten our very way of life if this men women and people, these evil, vile builderists weren't plagueing us with their garbage?

    Which is why we are introducing a new bill, US Bill: Centrifugal Return Of Construction Kraft-CROCK for short. Included in the language of CROCK supporters everywhere is 3rd party culpability placed on this crocheting Tim Allen( no relation to lilly Allen thank god), this Tim Allen with here nonsense about TOOLTIME TOOLS being good, and....christ. It doesn't matter, CROCK will take him down too!

    And here's the key: we can grow the construction business everywhere! All we the US Trade Org. has to do is make this an international treaty / executive order! That way we can make sure that our trade partners are every bit as CROCKed as we are!

    You mark my words. CROCKs will have their day. In the meantime, I've got a Hammer From Canadian tire and i just made a bench to put my home cooking and dvdr collection on....

    NOW i present LOOPHOLES 101

    yes folks now you will sell the hosue freely.
    FREE YOU SAY?
    but i paid....
    AHHH but you have land that wasn't built or made by an artist ( dont get me going that the pope will claim it next on all land )

    so you sell the land on the property and the house free. JUST the price of the land is ironically what the value of the house would have been maybe more.

    ADDON throttling and capping HOME use
    thats right folks to save the environment we are going to cap and throttle your use fo the house to 5% during anytime your home. PICK a spot and lie there suckers. AND every time you use ANYTHING in the house we will have a coin slot so you can pay.

    were going to call this:
    not Home Throttling, Reasonable spacial management.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:56am

    When you choose a hotel you know (with some certainty) that you will be paying for a clean room not too dissimilar from the one you saw on their site.

    When you pick a room from a house on craigslist, there is no guarantee that the room will be the same or in the same condition as when the picture is taken.

    Why don't hotels understand they people pay for the cleanliness and standard. That's what the premium should be billed for.

     

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      Christopher (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:42am

      Unlikely

      Hotels can have wild variations in service and cleanliness. You only pick a hotel because you're thinking that they've bet a "reputation" against your experience. You can easily be displeased with a name-brand. You're not buying anything "extra" other than a purported economy of scale... that in NYC you cannot enjoy.

      Users sleeping in homes or apartment on micro-sublets are informed consumers, they *know* it's not a hotel. Furthermore, the owners also know they aren't a hotel. So what's the problem? Insurance isn't the renter's problem. Firecode, also not the renter's problem. All borne by the owner, and presumably in place for them to live there without subletting.

      Nah, it's a pure play to crush competition.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      Are you sure you're talking about NYC hotels? Clean?!?!?!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    I'm with you, Yogi...I'm continually amazed at how America, the supposed 'free-market' leader of the world, can allow let alone generate such inane anti-competitive laws.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Giving the guy who drives to the show a little gas money - ILLEGAL
    Bringing a six pack to a party and then crashing there for the night - ILLEGAL
    Pot luck dinners - ILLEGAL

     

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    a-dub (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    A property owner should be able to do whatever the owner wants. Doesnt matter if it's an official operation that pays taxes and insurance. Competition is good.

     

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    Freedom, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Or...

    Or, to get around the law:

    FREE ONE NIGHT SLEEPOVER W/ $100 donation to the KEBLER FAMILY FUND!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    This seems to me like big companies are trying to set the bar high enough as to kill any competition, but low enough so they can profit a lot.

    This is a shame, people could be complementing their income with some dollars that would be expend on the local economy even if there is no monitoring capability, but hey whatever the big guy's want right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    the funny part from this post is i am starting to understand that mikes version of efficiency mostly has to do with ignoring the law, ignoring existing government regulations, and pretty much doing whatever you want no matter how much harm it causes to anyone else.

    yes, it is efficient mike. but so is an elevator with the cables cut off, it is very efficient on the way down, just that last floor really sucks. but it you only measure its performance between the 20th and 17th floor in a myopic sort of way, it looks amazing. way faster than the original, uses less power, and appears to serve the people well who are headed to the lower floors.

    techdirt efficiency: looks good if you stand close enough and ignore the effects.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      TAM, stop making things up. Efficiency is about having reasonable laws. No one is saying that safety standards shouldn't exist, we're only saying that anti competitive laws shouldn't exist.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:41am

        Re: Re:

        the problem is that the laws are reasonable, arrived at over many years to protect all sorts of groups, safety, welfare, neighborhoods, etc. it is everything from the safety regs to commercial zoning, parking, and so on. these things exist as a whole because the people wanted them that way.

        essentially, all that is being pushed for here is that all daily rental rooms in the city be subject to the same laws, and that includes "couch surfing rentals". that is to protect the client, the people in the neighborhood, etc. there is a whole bunch of things on the table here.

        it is easy to compete when you dont comply with the rules. when your building isnt up to commercial safety rules, isnt handicap accessible, isnt commercial zones, isnt commercially insured, doesnt meet fire code for a commercial establishment, paying city, state, and federal taxes as a commercial operation, and so on. taking away all of those costs from existing hotels would change the model greatly.

        again, it is the myopic view of techdirt. looking at a single night in someones extra room, the service seems wildly effecient and much more economical than renting a hotel in nyc. however, when you stop standing so close to a single transaction and back up a bit, you would have to look at the effects on neighbors, on public safety, etc. the whole deal would be very different if one of these places caught fire and some tourists died. there would be an uproar about the city allowing unlicensed businesses to operate, etc.

        as is always the case, if you want to change the rules, change the rules for everyone. efficiencies gained by ignoring the rules, the laws, safety, and tax codes to save a buck isnt effecient, it is just dishonest, like many of the stories that appear on techdirt.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "these things exist as a whole because the people wanted them that way."

          What people the CEO from a big business?

          Ah those people right.

           

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          Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:03am

          Myopic? Hmmm...

          You were heading in the right direction but then you failed by saying everything needs to follow every last myopic law.

          Let's really analyze this with the laws involved.

          ADA Law - for handicapped people, right? Why should a small in follow this one?

          1) Do they employ handicapped people? No, more than likely it's a small one time deal.

          2) Is it a federal building? No, it's a private home

          3) Is it a public place? No, private home again.

          4) Do they have a phone? No. Do they need it to be ADA compliant? Again, no. See 1.

          That's just one law that's horribly inefficient for what they need it for. There's countless other things I can pull that can prove that not every person needs to follow all forms of the law, causing inefficiency through bureaucracy.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

            Re: Myopic? Hmmm...

            jay, nice answers, but you miss the point. if they are renting rooms, they are not a private home, they are a commercial enterprise. go back and look through the ada and local nyc codes for handicap access to commercial buildings, particularly to those providing lodging.

            you cannot think of it as a private home, because they are doing business there.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

              Re: Re: Myopic? Hmmm...

              So what you are saying is that people should have no means to get some extra money on the side and need to apply to very stringent "codes" that only the wealthy can afford being that even they can't afford for themselves?

              Right, if it was me I get all the name of the shmoes responsible for this idiotic law and would plaster their names all over New York with the following "These people voted to negate income to the people to benefit big hotel chains!"

               

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              Jay (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:15am

              Re: Re: Myopic? Hmmm...

              I believe you are confused. Yes, there are some commercial properties that need to sell extra space, making some extra money on the side. But there are also private residences included.

              Regarding NYC in general, I am aware of NYC's rent control, which I believe is a detriment to NYC. In a way, this legislation is exactly the same as that, causing unnecessary grief for hotel owners by enlightening an issue that probably isn't all that bad when considered. Now that they've brought it to light, I'm sure more people will check out Crashpadders, Roomorama, instead of the Ramona Inn or Clarion Hotel.

               

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          Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          the problem is that the laws are reasonable, arrived at over many years to protect all sorts of groups, safety, welfare, neighborhoods, etc. it
          ...
          blah blah blah
          ...
          that is to protect the client, the people in the neighborhood, etc. there is a whole bunch of things on the table here.


          Except that if you read the post you will find that these B&B arrangements are quite legal in respect of all the existing laws and what the hotels want is a new law specifically to outlaw the competition that they don't like.

          it is just dishonest, like many of the stories that appear on techdirt.

          No, by not addressing the actual story and instead setting up a strawman to attack it is you that is being dishonest.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What would you expect from a fucking moron?

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            if they were b&b, they would still have to conform to city, state, and federal regulations for that type of business.

            "No, by not addressing the actual story and instead setting up a strawman to attack it is you that is being dishonest." - there is no strawman here. if they are renting rooms, they need to conform to one set of regulations or another (hotels, b&b, whatever) for operation of such a commercial establishment. doing this sort of business in a private home that many not have the required smoke detectors, points of egress, etc, and no way for the public to know is dangerous and wrong. you know it, i know it. there is no strawman, only that horrible thing called reality.

            you seem like the same sort of sad sack that would be on the internet crying when your sister or other family member dies in a fire in an illegal rooming house / couch surfing home. please think before you post such nonsense.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If the government were really interested in safety they wouldn't keep on giving into the trucking industry to keep allowing for shorter and shorter sleep hours.

              "On January 4, 2004 the new federal drivers’ hours-of-service regulations became effective for Interstate drivers of commercial motor vehicles subject to Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) Part 395. Specifically, the law increased the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to operate in a 24 hour period. "

              http://www.philadelphia-accident-lawyers.com/truck-accidents/truck_driver_fatigue.html

              and statistics show that fewer sleep hours cause far more accidents, but statistics and logic be darned when it gets in the way of safety.

              The fact of the matter is that the government can care less about safety and they only care about their corporate campaign contributions. These monopoly laws have absolutely nothing to do with safety. I'm all for safety laws, laws that encourage more sleep hours for truck drivers, laws that are EVIDENCED to cause fewer accidents. But the government doesn't care about safety.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              and lets not forget about how many people die a year from cigarettes. But consumer choice is only a good thing when it helps facilitate corporate profits.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "you seem like the same sort of sad sack that would be on the internet crying when your sister or other family member dies in a fire in an illegal rooming house / couch surfing home. please think before you post such nonsense."

              Congress continues to increase the number of allowed trucker work hours and this causes many accidents and deaths. A statistically noticeable amount. but when your sister dies from a trucking accident we'll you'll be right there defending the trucking lobby I'm sure.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              There is a difference between requiring standards and enforcing monopolies for the sake of enforcing monopolies. I'm all for safety standards, like the more trucker sleep hours, but I'm not for unnecessary monopolies that contribute nothing to safety.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                In other words, I want safety standards that make sense. More trucker sleep hours are safety standards that make sense. I don't want "safety" standards that make no sense and are only designed to serve the interest of corporate profits. "Safety" standards lobbied by corporations that want benefit from them by reducing competition are not good safety standards. Safety laws that have statistical significance, like more trucker sleep hours, are laws that I want. Laws that make sense, not laws that merely serve corporate profits.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              and when your sister or other family member dies of legally smoking cigarettes what will you say then? Will you try to destroy the tobacco industry after that? Please think before you post this nonsense.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                and while we're at it lets ban cars too because people die of car accidents.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  We need to ban anything that anyone can possibly die from. Can we ban old age too?

                   

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                    slander (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:02pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Outlaw old age, and only old outlaws... I mean, only outlaws will get... er, darn it--I forgot what I was going to say.

                     

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          The Groove Tiger (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "the problem is that the laws are reasonable"

          Are you a lawyer?
          Also, it must be tuesday!

           

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      Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      Wow... I mean... WOW!

      You've opened my eyes! I mean, we would really love to see how ignoring any of the laws that are proven to stunt US growth in the industries affected can really be evil.

      Let's also forget how some of these laws can be quite difficult to enforce (as this one above is) or can have negative externalities (such as even less people coming to NY, spending money, earning NY more revenue in taxes)

      I mean, bravo, for your logic that trumps everyone else's. *claps*

       

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      Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      the funny part from this post is i am starting to understand that mikes version of efficiency mostly has to do with ignoring the law, ignoring existing government regulations, and pretty much doing whatever you want no matter how much harm it causes to anyone else.

      No - it's to do with not making up artificial laws and regulations that have no purpose other than to protect an existing monopoly.

      btw is there anything good and wholesome that you won't complain about?

       

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        interval (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re:

        @Rich: "...ignoring the law..."

        ~sigh~, again, perhaps because the law is broken, ridiculous, put in place by organizations that have money to lose without it, isn't the will of the people, just plain stupid... shall I go on?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:19am

      Re:

      Those laws that are used to create a bar so high that only a few can enter?

      That is really a efficient market.

      When they start introducing legislation that is equitable to the size of the operations in question I will agree but putting rules that only the wealthy can fallow is just wrong.

       

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      Boost, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      You're overlooking the point. Government regulation designed to protect the consumer, has the unintended result of creating competition limiting market boundaries, which ends up hurting the consumer in the long run. What is the moral of this story? The government creates laws and then has to create more laws to stop the consequences of the original laws and then laws the stop the consequences the previous laws and so on. What would happen if we let people make their own decisions? Well, it turns out people are pretty capable on their own for the most part.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      Elevators have brakes that engage if the tension of the cable is released. You should get better at metaphor.

       

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        darryl, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re:

        No, Mike did an efficiency analysis of the lift system, and determined that as the lift has never used the emergency brakes, and they are an extra weight going up and down all the time, and not doing anything.

        Mike, had them removed, or did not include them in the design in the first place.. its more efficient..

         

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    @13 you mean

    FREE ONE NIGHT SLEEPOVER W/ $100 donation to the KEEBLER FAMILY FUND!
    DONATE 130$ and WE HAVE MAGIC FOOD APPEAR

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    You've seen it over and over, now need to generalize:

    ) The "business model" that works is getting gov't to suppress competition (as I've mentioned regarding copyright enforcement and seemed misunderstood as advocacy when merely noting the actuality).

    ) Statutes and regulations are actually *favored* by big business as weapons to use against smaller / independent business.

    ) Somehow the country got along a hundred years ago without this.

    ) It's never difficult to persuade gov't to grab more power.

    ) Neither gov't nor business intend to allow freedom.

    ) A portion of the populace now actively supports any and all gov't action; possibly worst is those support enforcing the *current* degree of tyranny, when that's the major part of the problem.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Can't the courts simply strike this down as a first amendment issue? Or does free speech only apply to big corporations with tons of money (ie: the supreme court ruling on corporate campaign ads and the fact that only these big hotels get to advertise their service).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      One may argue that congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech and that the State of NY isn't Congress (I've seen a similar argument before in a discussion regarding another state). But states get their power from the constitution and the constitution is a congressional document and hence states get their power from congress (just like a congressional statute can grant power). If a state can abridge free speech and congress provides the authority via the constitution then congress is effectively abridging free speech and this should be prohibited.

       

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    Thomas (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    So what if..

    So if I have a friend from out of town who wants to stay with me instead of paying $400 per night for a hotel it's now illegal? bah.

     

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    TheStateOfMe, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    This already happened with corporate apartments

    I used to travel frequently to NYC, and to save cash my firm instituted a policy that those staying in town for a whole week had to use a corporate apartment (provided by a management firm) rather than a hotel. The apartments were so nice that I'd use them even if I was just passing through for one night. It was like getting a suite for less than the cost of a regular room. It was also a good deal for the city, as I got charged tax for more rooms. Service and cleanliness were always at least as good as the hotels I used (and often better than some of the less salubrious NYC hotels, which is too many).

    and then the NYC hotel cartel came along and twisted Bloomberg's nuts to get the whole caper shut down. A law was passed making the minimum rental term 30 days, and a great facility was unavailable to the NYC visitor. As others have already pointed out the hotels in NYC already get away with outrageous prices (and often poor service too) - so they hardy need further legislative support.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Economics vs Laws

    Laws can make minor adjustments to basic economics. Laws that fight basic laws of economics are ignored unless the public sees a good need for them.

    Gypsy taxis is a good example. The number of shields available for licensed taxis is artificially low. The price of gypsy cabs is closer to what most consumers are willing to pay, so they factor in the risks and take the cheaper alternative. Gypsy cabs would dry up in an heartbeat if more cabs could be licensed. Prices for the high end cabs would drop which would benefit the public, and the cabs would have insurance and trained drivers. But the organized taxi industry wants to maintain its control so the public welfare is harmed by having unregulated cabs all over the the city, and the public is trained that ignoring the law is a good idea.

    If New York passes a draconian law about private home rentals people will keep doing it. The law might deter a few people at the margin, but with the huge amount of money to be made by homeowners and the huge amount of money to be saved by visitors people will figure out a way to get around the law, or they will simply ignore it.

    If the law passes, the hotels may find themselves in the same position as the RIAA and the taxi industry.

    Hotels might be better off trying to capitalize on the situation. For example, Hilton hotels could start an program of "Hilton Certified" home rentals. The homes would have to meet certain standards and in turn would be listed on Hilton's website as alternatives to the hotel. That way Hilton would get a part of the revenue and have some nice marketing opportunities with people visiting New York. If a homeowner wasn't willing to pay Hilton's fees and meet their standards, then the homeowner could try the "Motel 6 Certified" program. For that matter, there isn't any reason you couldn't have "Starbucks Certified" homes. The state might even be able to collect some taxes from these organizations as long as the tax rates were reasonable. Someone will probably ask why the hotels would be willing to cannibalize their own businesses by offering alternatives. But there is already ample evidence that if they don't act someone else will jump in set up a business and they will be locked out of a significant portion of the tourism industry. The real challenge for the hotel industry is figuring out how to tap into this segment of the market.

     

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      slander (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:11pm

      Re: Economics vs Laws

      Starbucks Certified Homes™--for the pretentious hipster who wants a short, ironic stay in New York.

      You know, that just might work...

       

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    Infowars, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    There is no more America

    We are already done for. The international bankers Pwn us..

    Get use to it.. You dirty little slaves, BACK TO WORK!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Land of the Free?

    Puuurlease!

    Come live in Europe where we can do what we want...

     

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    Jim O (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    How about free competition?

    The examples Mike listed are pay alternatives... how about sites like couchsurfing.org where users agree to host guests for free?

     

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    darryl, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    thanks goodness its not all about efficiency... !!!!!

    "it is easy to compete when you dont comply with the rules. when your building isnt up to commercial safety rules, isnt handicap accessible, isnt commercial zones, isnt commercially insured, doesnt meet fire code for a commercial establishment, paying city, state, and federal taxes as a commercial operation, and so on. taking away all of those costs from existing hotels would change the model greatly.

    again, it is the myopic view of techdirt. looking at a single night iomeones extra room, the service seems wildly efficient and much more economical than renting a hotel in nyc. however, when you stop standing so close to a single transaction and back up a bit, you would have to look at the effects on neighbours, on public safety, etc. the whole deal would be very differn sent if one of these places caught fire and some tourists died. there would be an uproar about the city allowing unlicensed businesses to operate, etc.

    as is always the case, if you want to change the rules, change the rules for everyone. efficiencies gained by ignoring the rules, the laws, safety, and tax codes to save a buck isnt effecient, it is just dishonest, like many of the stories that appear on techdirt."


    what he said!

    If efficiency is all, mike would be happy to do home surgery should be get a bout of cancer, after all the kitchen knife is quicker and more efficient than a law and regulation riddled hospital and doctor.

    Mike, would like to buy a car that is efficient but does not comply with inefficient laws like adequate brakes, or the car containing a steering column made of cardboard, that would fail the first hard cornet you take.

    But that's ok, as we gain efficiency.

    Get cold in winter, stick your fingers directly into the power socket, more efficient, saves buying a room heater.

    As has been said, rules and laws are there for a reason, not to **NO** reason, and the rules about accommodation, hotels are strict for very good reasons which have been stated here before. those reason are clear to anyone who cares to think about it for a second.

    Health and safety, security, and having to meet the specific rules and laws that people expect.

    You can hear it now, people saying in some strangers homes, not noticing the video camera in the roof, and shower.

    Or they fall down the unsafe stairs and break their neck, who is going to pay for the rest of life care of that person, if they are uninsured, they will chapter 7 and your screwed.

    But Mike if you want to take the risk, break the law, and help others break the law, that is up to you.

    But you should not be suggesting that people should disregard the law, you should display more responsibility in your 'position'.

    Convincing someone to break a law, is just as bad as breaking the law yourself, or worse..

     

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    AdamR (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    "again, it is the myopic view of techdirt"

    The only thing myopic on TechDirt are your views.

    "essentially, all that is being pushed for here is that all daily rental rooms in the city be subject to the same laws, and that includes "couch surfing rentals". that is to protect the client, the people in the neighborhood, etc. there is a whole bunch of things on the table here

    Like those rules have stopped mugging, murders, in room theft, and the bed bug epidemic that's happening in NYC.

    BTW a lot of the rules and laws that have been past the industry have fought against them, only when tragedy has hit they were forced to accept them.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      "Like those rules have stopped mugging, murders, in room theft, and the bed bug epidemic that's happening in NYC."

      and centralizing places where people stay like hotels makes the job of thieves even easier because now they have centralized points to seek and prey whereas if everyone is scattered it's more difficult.

       

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    Ron, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Really?

    Are home sublets really that much of a threat to hotels in NYC? I can't imagine they're taking away enough business to make much of a dent, NYC is always pretty well booked right? I imagine the only business it takes away from are the crappier hotels outside of the city that people book as a last resort

    Absolutely ridiculous, how would they even enforce this? What are they going to shut down Craigslist or Airbnb? Honestly they should be using their time better, there's much bigger problems out there

     

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    jebediah springfield, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    If you oppose the bill, fill out this online petition

     

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    joe, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    I got screwed by this

    I was staying in an apartment last month in NYC booked through AIR BNB.
    One night I got back and posters had been stuck on all the doors saying I was an illegal tenant and I should leave immediately.

    It wasn't fun after that. Trust me

     

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      IrishDaze (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

      Re: I got screwed by this

      Seriously, what did you *do* to draw that much attention to yourself, eh?

      I mean seriously, who reported it? Which neighbor, as a private citizen, was angry OR activist enough to cause *that*? That is, unless you were up to something no good . . . ;-)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Summer rentals

    Well, there goes the summer family vacation! Can't rent that place by the beach for a week anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    take reservations for 30+ days, person leaves early, only pays a prorated amount for leaving early and you got around the law...

    The law is vary stupid, it may even ban having friends over for the night or other normal stuff like that.

     

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      athe, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:18am

      Re:

      This is basically what we did when we stayed in a place in Tokyo. They got us to sign a "30 day rental agreement", and then, when we left after 6 nights, simply "ripped" up the agreement at the end. Didn't hold us to the early termination clauses, etc.

       

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    gaitdoctor, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    banning short term sublets

    THIS IS ABOUT THE MONIES. IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONIES.
    REMEMBER, THE HOTELS PAYS TAXES, AND DEPENDING WHERE, IT COULD BE AS MUCH AS 10%. NOW THE POLITICIANS WANT THEIR CUT.
    THEY NEED TO FUND THEIR SALARIES AND PENSIONS. AS SALARIES
    AND BENEFITS FOR THE AVERAGE JOES GOES DOWN OR DISAPPEARS.
    NOW SO FOR OUR POLITICIANS. REMEMBER, THEY CAN GET A RAISE
    ANYTIME THEY VOTE THEMSELVES ONE. NICE DEAL.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Great definition of efficient

    To be fair, taking the candybar from the store is much more efficient than stopping by the counter and paying and stuff. Especially if there is a line. I hate lines.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 7:29pm

      Re:

      You mean like how taking someones right to rent their house out for a short period of time is theft. I agree, it is theft.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:09pm

    I think everyone is missing the big picture, why would anyone want to stay in NY city?

    The whole city of NY is covered in dog/human urine!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 12:19am

      Re:

      I got a solution, it's the same solution that the Eagles came up with. Welcome to the Hotel California!!

      Wait, that's probably not that much of a better solution.

       

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    steve haldane, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 2:49am

    How to get any bill passed

    They need to add "short term renters are usually terrorists or illegal immigrants" somewhere in that bill and it'll pass no matter how unjust it is, guaranteed

     

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    Chicaugon Inn, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Maybe the big hotels would have less to worry about if they actually offered a service that is worth the price you pay to stay with them. I'd much rather rent out a room for a week than pay through the nose to get baby size bottles of shampoo and someone to make my bed everyday. This is a joke. They shouldn't be allowed to monopolize the lodging industry simply because they feel threatened.

     

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    Too Tall, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Government Over Reach

    The Government cannot enforce these laws any more than they can enforce a tax on these people unless they really generate some huge volume in their home based business.

    This law is not even the governments idea, they are simply the pawn messengers of the Hotel Industry Lobbyists.

    If I lived in New York, or anywhere else in the country, and I want to let someone stay on my couch for a couple of nights, then I am going to do it. We are in tough economic times, for both homeowners and travelers. For the government to force people to spend money they do not have on a hotel while denying hard working Americans from making a few extra dollars is ridiculous. If the Government tries to enforce this on a large scale, the backlash would be unbearable.

     

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    Fiona Dalle (profile), Jul 30th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Pretty Crazy!

    This is pretty crazy! I can't believe people are getting upset over the internet. It is just easier to use because it's all in one place and makes it easy to find cheap hotels

     

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    fabio, Feb 1st, 2011 @ 11:43pm

    NYC hotel

    the NYC hotel cartel came along and twisted Bloomberg's nuts to get the whole caper shut down. A law was passed making the minimum rental term 30 days, and a great facility was unavailable to the NYC visitor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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