LandlordsNY Briefing for May 16th

The New York City Council is drafting new legislation with the hope of cracking down on illegal short term rentals. The bill will require all hosts of short-term rental sites to register with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, a process that will evidently make it easier to determine which hosts are in compliance with the law and which hosts are not.

Airbnb is opposed to the bill because it could reveal that many of the people who use their service do so in violation of the law. Predictably, the home-sharing company is attempting to portray those who break the law and increase the rents of New Yorkers as sympathetic characters. They have even referred to punishment for illegal activity as “harassment.”

Curbed New York has more.

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Despite robust demand and increases in the prices of homes, U.S. housing starts fell last month. Builders said that rising costs for materials (caused in part by a tariff on Canadian softwood lumber), rising costs in labor, and labor shortages were the most significant factors contributing to the 3.7% decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.287 million. The decline was also fueled by a precipitous drop in starts for multifamily buildings with five or more units (12.6%) and anemic growth in single-family dwellings of only 0.1%. Residential building permits also fell last month by 1.8% to an annual pace of 1.352 million.

The Wall Street Journal has more.

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In a Landlords New York Minute – A (Very) Brief Look Around the World

North Korea has threatened to cancel talks with the United States if Washington does not provide security guarantees and reduce its military presence in the area; Venezuela’s opposition party hopes to win an election they describe as rigged by not voting; Burundi will vote tomorrow on constitutional amendments that could destabilize the East African nation; Italy’s newly formed coalition government is hoping to leave the euro, which could have a devastating impact on the entire European economy; and a constitutional crisis is brewing in the United Kingdom because the government plans to go ahead with the EU Withdrawal Bill even though Scotland voted against it. American allies in Europe are still reeling from the Trump administration’s decision to abandon the Iranian nuclear deal; there is dwindling hope that Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. will be able to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year; the number of refugees coming into the U.S. has slowed largely because of increased bureaucracy and a lack of staffing; women performed extremely well in four states’ primaries yesterday; and teachers are striking in North Carolina because of low wages and poorly funded schools. In Washington, it appears as though Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, will be approved by the Senate; Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is being grilled by the Senate today for failing to protect the environment and for his numerous lapses in ethical behavior; and the Trump administration is being criticized for nominating Gordon Hartogensis to run an office within the Department of Labor that oversees a program meant to serve as a form of insurance for pensions and pensioners because Mr. Hartogensis has no relevant administrative experience and is the brother-in-law of both Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.). U.S. industrial production rose 0.7% in April, economists are expecting inflation to continue to rise, small banks in the U.S. are hoping to move back into the mortgage market once Congress approves the rollback of regulations that were initially put in place because of the housing and subprime crises that nearly brought about the collapse of the global economy, and New York City’s homelessness problem is taking center stage at this year’s city budget negotiations. Women.NYC, a website meant to help women navigate all the services the city can provide to them, launched today; Canal Street is starting to look more like Soho and less like Chinatown; and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find parking in the Bronx.

There is a severe Japanese whisky shortage, there are ghost distilleries in Scotland, a disappearing lake in Tasmania returned, and there’s a secret seltzer society for people who love weirdly-flavored bubble drinks. Germans really like currywurst, heterosexual women tend to be attracted to men whose legs are half their total height, gambling on archery contests is popular in India, the decline in hunters is becoming a problem for conservationists, rats can detect tuberculosis, and puppies reach peak cuteness at 8 weeks.

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