LandlordsNY Briefing for January 4th

A federal judge in the Southern District Court of New York has blocked a law passed by the New York City Council to require home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway provide the city with a monthly report of all users who list their homes on such sites. The law was passed in the summer of 2018 and was set to go into effect in February. The order blocking the law stems from separate requests for preliminary injunction filed by Airbnb and HomeAway in August.

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer granted both requests yesterday in a consolidated order. In his 52-page decision, he ruled that the law violates the constitutional rights of users and constitutes an illegal search as defined by the Fourth Amendment.

“The city retains its existing investigative tools such as subpoenas, and is at liberty to enhance the resources dedicated to this area if it determines that such serves the public interest,” Hon. Engelmayer wrote.

The New York Times has more and the Wall Street Journal has more.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the L train will not be completely shut down come April. This comes more than two years after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that the line would face a total shutdown for 15 months. When the plan was initially announced, the MTA claimed that the shutdown had to be complete to make the necessary repairs to the Canarsie Tube (on which the L train runs) due to damage it sustained during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The governor's announcement yesterday indicates that similar repairs can be made on nights and weekends in only 15 to 20 months.

The governor’s decision has been widely ridiculed, primarily because he has frequently said that he does not have total authority over the transportation agency. However, it now seems as though he can rule the MTA as if by decree.

Not everyone is laughing, though. Many landlords in North Brooklyn have given deep concessions to renters and have faced rising vacancy rates because of the impending shutdown.

Politico New York has more, City & State New York has more, and City Limits has more.

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

China cut the amount that its central bank is required to keep in reserve by $210 billion, a sign that the Chinese government will pursue a more aggressive policy to prevent an economic slowdown; British conservatives are embracing a “No-Deal Brexit,” something that could lead to food and medicine shortages throughout the United Kingdom; hackers leaked the personal data of hundreds of German celebrities and politicians, though the data breach seems to have spared members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party; and Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, plans to begin dismissing government officials who do not toe the party line. The Labor Department released its official unemployment figures for December earlier today. According to the report, the United States added 312,000 jobs in December, year-over-year hourly wages saw gains of 3.2 percent, and the unemployment rate inched up to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent. Economists expected only 177,000 jobs to be added. American markets responded positively to the news after a difficult day yesterday and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow boasted that there is “no recession in sight.” However, analysts continue to claim that it would be unwise for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, even though this is traditionally what happens when an economy is healthy. House Democrats passed legislation to end the federal government shutdown yesterday, but the White House has said that the bill will be vetoed because it does not include $5 billion in funding for a southern border wall that is expected to cost closer to (at minimum) $21 billion to erect and hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain annually. The Senate has largely remained silent on the shutdown. Today, House Democrats plan to unveil a bill known as the For the People Act that will eliminate some obstacles to voting, strengthen restrictions on ethics and lobbying, and require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Meanwhile, in good news, U.S. troops finally received their first pay raise in a decade year, New York City saw the fewest murders in almost 70 years in 2018, and Broadway had a record year after grossing $1.8 billion this calendar year. In weird news, a Rockland County man who stole the flushing mechanisms from the toilets of at least eight fast food restaurants in Queens has finally been caught.

If you put a really high price tag on anything (even bourbon), people will eventually buy it and justify the expense by claiming that the product is of high quality because no one seems to know what a high quality product looks like anymore; top executives in the U.K. have already earned more money in the past three days than the typical British worker will make in the next twelve months; and Gwyneth Paltrow is a real person, she confirms in an interview. Nomophobia, the fear of being without one’s phone, was Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2018, while Croton-on-Hudson was named the best place to live in New York.

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