SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog today called on New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to veto a bill wrongly targeting home sharing platforms like Airbnb saying the legislation "would unfairly hurt consumers and is nothing more than a vehicle to serve the special interests of the hotel industry and hotel workers unions that face competition from the emerging home sharing industry."
"The bill raises troubling constitutional issues, but our concern is the negative impact it would have on ordinary people, both those who use home sharing platforms to offer accommodations and those who opt to rent and stay in them," wrote John M. Simpson, the nonpartisan, nonprofit group's Privacy Project Director in a letter to the governor.
Assembly Bill 8704-C would make it "unlawful to advertise occupancy or use" of accommodations that cannot lawfully be rented out for less than 30-day periods.
Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to Gov. Cuomo here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrcuomo091916.pdf
"Home sharing is increasingly important to many middle class people struggling to make ends meet. It is growing in popularity for people looking for affordable lodging when they travel. The industry has a growing positive economic impact on your state," the letter said.
Consumer Watchdog noted that, according to one home sharing company, Airbnb, over the last year its 46,000 New York State "hosts" provided lodging to 1.8 million visitors. That generated billions of dollars of economic activity for New York State.
Consumer Watchdog said it understands that responsible home sharing networks must support efforts to protect permanent housing by discouraging commercial operators from using their online platforms.
"That in fact seems to be happening," the letter said. "For example, since November 1, 2015, Airbnb has removed more than 2,570 New York City listings from its site that the home sharing platform believes pose the risk of taking permanent housing off the market."
Consumer Watchdog said the state and home sharing platforms should work together to develop equitable policies so that both hosts and visitors can continue to benefit from home sharing when they decide to do so and so the state receives the appropriate tax revenue. AB 8704-C would block any such collaborative efforts, the group said.
"The bill, if signed into law, also runs the risk of turning neighbors into de facto law enforcement agents by encouraging them to scour home sharing platforms for their neighbors and report people to law enforcement who are listing their homes," the letter concluded. "Consumer Watchdog urges you to act on behalf of everyday people – both "hosts" and guests – who use home sharing networks and veto AB 8704-C."
Visit Consumer Watchdog's website at www.consumerwatchdog.org
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/consumer-watchdog-calls-on-gov-cuomo-to-veto-bill-threatening-home-sharing-platforms-300332229.html
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog