New York City this month launched a massive crackdown on vacation rentals.

The New York Times reports that the city has vowed to aggressively enforce rules that bar people from renting out homes and apartments for less than 30 days, unless the host is present during the stay.

Those rules also limit to two the number of guests allowed at a time, and say they must have ready access to the entire home.

Those restrictions aren’t part of vacation rental regulations in Evanston.

But New York’s rules, like Evanston’s require hosts to register with the city.

Shortly before the NYC crackdown went into effect, about 20% of hosts there had applied to register.

New York, unlike Evanston, also requires services like Airbnb to check that a host’s registration application has been approved before collecting fees for the short-term stays.

Hosts in New York could face fines of up to $5,000 for violations and platforms could be fined up to $1,500 for transactions involving illegal rentals.

New York City officials claim vacation rentals exacerbate the city’s acute housing shortage, and the Times notes that the traditional hotel industry has been an ally of Mayor Eric Adams.

But Airbnb says short-term home rentals help New York’s tourism economy, especially in parts of the city where there are few hotels.

The anti-Airbnb activist site, Inside Airbnb, claims the service lists lists nearly 40,000 vacation rentals in New York City.

That would be 1.25% of the city’s 3.2 million housing units — or nearly three times the proportion of vacation rentals to total housing units in Evanston.

Based on AirDNA data, Evanston’s vacation rentals should be generating about $440,000 a year in hotel tax revenue for the city. That would amount to about a third of the $1.3 million in hotel tax revenue forecast for this year’s city budget.

City spokesperson Jessica Mayo said she didn’t have a breakout of sources of hotel tax revenue that would establish what share comes from vacation rentals.

Mayo says an increase in the vacation rental license fee “is currently under consideration” but that any more extensive revision to the ordinance “would be a policy question that would need a Council referral.”

So far none of the council members have made such a referral.

Part One: Vacation rental licensing: Why bother?

Part Two: How’s the vacation rental business here?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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