Friday, June 1, 2012

New York State Senate Amends Vacation Rental Restrictions

Doug Coates

New York State's Senate passed amendments to state short term rental laws.  Key components of the amended law are:

* The new version of the Golden Bill merely requires a “short-term rental unit” (a unit rented for less than thirty days) to be registered with the New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”) for a fee of $200.  The new version of the bill does not require this registration to be renewed.
* The new version of the bill limits how many units in a residential building can be rented out for less than 30 days:
Building with 5-10 units: no more than 50% may be used as short-term rentals;
Building with 11-20 units: no more than 49% may be used as short-term rentals;
Building with 21+ units: no more than 10% may be used as short-term rentals.
* The new version of the bill provides for increased penalties:
Fines (for not registering with the DOB or for making fraudulent or misleading statements on the registration application) range from $1000 to $2000. The fines in the former version of the bill ranged from $500 to $1000.
* Rent-controlled, rent-stabilized and other subsidized housing units cannot be registered as “short-term rental units.”

For information about statewide VR issues, visit

For information about VR issues in NYC, visit


  1. I am concerned about a homeowner renting their second house for weekly, weekend rentals. I live on Lake Champlain in New York and would like to know if this law can apply to other areas in the state other than NYC. We reside in a residential area and my neighbor rents out the house all summer. Every week we get new tenants next door and we do not like it. We feel we have no control over who they decide to rent to and we are subjected to noise, dogs, and parties since the tenants believe they are on vacation they can do what they want. What can we do to stop this short term rental in our neighborhood? The owners do not have a license to do it nor do they have any kind of variance from the town. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Vacation rental homes are common around the Lake Champlain area. I know this from personal experience, having stayed in one myself decades ago as a child.

    The first question would be - what do local laws say about vacation rentals. Some communities have extensive laws. Even if the laws have some problems, the vacation rental owner must comply. Other communities have no laws, and handle short term rentals the same way they handle longer term rentals.

    In many communities - the existence of vacation rental activity in a residential community is not illegal, and does not violate property rights. The fact that you have new tenants every week should not necessarily be a problem. However if the property is rented with no guest screening, you might have a right to complain or bring actions against the owner.

    Overall, I can tell you from experience that your most effective option, regardless of local laws and other circumstances, would be to sit down with the owner of the VR, discuss your concerns, and attempt to come to some agreement.

    In my experience, most vacation rental owners don't want to do anything to degrade your neighborhood, and if you are willing to be flexible, they are willing to try to accommodate you.


Thoughtful comments are welcome, whether you are in favor of vacation rentals or concerned about the impacts of VRs on your community. Comments that contain advertising, including ads for properties, will be deleted.