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Most Brooklyn Rentals on Airbnb Are in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, AG Says

By Serena Dai | October 16, 2014 5:45pm
 Richard Redwine said he gets emails every day requesting to stay in his "Authentic Williamsburg Loft."
Richard Redwine said he gets emails every day requesting to stay in his "Authentic Williamsburg Loft."
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

WILLIAMSBURG — Most Brooklyn listings from the popular home rental service Airbnb are in Williamsburg and Greepoint, generating $39 million for the hosts in less than five years, a new state report said.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released the report about Airbnb on Thursday saying that most of the city's Airbnb rentals are breaking laws and displacing long-term housing in "thousands of apartments."

The rentals tend to sprout up in "rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods" like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Schneiderman said.

The $39 million represents 40 percent of all Airbnb Brooklyn host revenue and nearly 10 percent of all Airbnb citywide host revenue, the report said.

The state analyzed short-term rental data from the service between January 2010 and June 2014.

Schneiderman said in a statement that he plans to work with the city to shut down people running illegal hotels.

The report claimed that 72 percent of Airbnb listings violate the Multiple Dwelling Law or zoning laws that ban rentals for less than 30 days, bringing some $40 million in transaction fees to Airbnb.

“This report raises serious concerns about the proliferation of illegal hotels and the impact of Airbnb and sites like it on the City of New York,” the attorney general said.

Airbnb countered that the report's conclusions rely on "incomplete and outdated information," spokesman Nick Papas said in a statment, noting that more than 2,000 listings from New York have already been removed.

Many homes have different rules, so making a "blanket statement" on illegal shares is impossible, he added.

"We need to work together on some sensible rules that stop bad actors and protect regular people who simply want to share the home in which they live," he said.

Airbnb is reportedly valued at $10 billion. Opponents have said that the shares remove long-term housing in neighborhoods desperate for more affordable housing stock.

The company has faced intense scrutiny in the city and recently used subway ad campaigns in hopes of garnering support.

Since January 2010, nearly 8,000 hosts with more than 10,000 listings have popped up in Brooklyn, the report said.

Manhattan bookings are still more popular than Brooklyn ones, with the Lower East Side/Chinatown, Greenwich Village/Soho and Chelsea/Hell's Kitchen earning $187 million, or 40 percent of the entire city's Airbnb host revenue.

In the city as a whole, private bookings increased twelvefold between 2010 and 2014 as the service became more popular, the report said.