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Queens County, New York Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Queens County, New York

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What are Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) Regulations in Queens County, New York?

Short-term rental regulations in Queens County, New York have become increasingly strict in recent years. As of September 2023, hosts offering short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO must comply with Local Law 18, also known as the Short-Term Rental Registration Law. This law requires hosts to register with the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) and imposes several restrictions on short-term rentals.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Queens County

Under the new regulations, starting a short-term rental business in Queens County has become more challenging. Hosts must meet several requirements to legally operate:

  • The host must reside in the dwelling unit being rented
  • The host must be present during the guests' stay if it is for less than 30 days
  • The rental can accommodate a maximum of two paying guests
  • Guests must have free and unobstructed access to every room and exit within the unit

Additionally, hosts are required to include their short-term rental registration number on all advertisements and conspicuously post their registration certificate and a diagram of normal and emergency exit routes within the unit.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Queens County

As of September 5, 2023, short-term rental hosts in Queens County, New York are required to register with the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) per Local Law 18. The registration process involves the following steps and requirements:

  1. Eligibility: The host must reside in the dwelling unit being rented and be present during the guests' stay if it is for less than 30 days. The rental can accommodate a maximum of two paying guests.
  2. Application: Hosts must submit their application through the Short-Term Rental Registration Portal at https://strr-portal.ose.nyc.gov/s/?language=en_US[5]. The application requires personal information, such as name, address, phone number, and listing details.
  3. Documentation: Applicants must provide proof of residency and identity, such as a valid government-issued ID and utility bills or bank statements showing the host's name and address.
  4. Fees: As of July 2024, there is no application fee for the short-term rental registration. However, this may be subject to change in the future.
  5. Processing Time: The OSE reviews and approves applications, a process that can take several weeks or months, depending on the volume of applications received.

Once approved, hosts must include their short-term rental registration number on all advertisements and conspicuously post their registration certificate and a diagram of normal and emergency exit routes within the unit.

Failure to comply with the short-term rental regulations can result in significant penalties. Fines for hosts can range from $1,000 to $7,500 for advertising an unregistered rental, and up to $5,000 for other violations of the law. Booking platforms are prohibited from processing transactions for unregistered listings and may face penalties for non-compliance.

It is important to note that short-term rental listings for units in "Class B" multiple dwellings, which have been approved by the City of New York for legal short-term occupancies, are exempt from the registration requirement, as are rentals for 30 consecutive days or more.

Required Documents for Queens County Short-Term Rentals

To register a short-term rental in Queens County, New York, hosts must provide the following documents as part of their application:

  1. Proof of Identity: A valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, state ID, or passport. This document verifies the host's identity and ensures they are of legal age to operate a short-term rental.
  2. Proof of Residency: Two documents demonstrating that the host resides at the short-term rental address. Acceptable documents include utility bills, bank statements, or a lease agreement in the host's name, dated within the past 60 days.
  3. Diagram of Normal and Emergency Exit Routes: A floor plan or diagram showing the layout of the short-term rental unit, including normal and emergency exit routes. This document ensures guest safety and compliance with fire codes.
  4. Proof of Ownership or Permission: If the host owns the property, they must provide a deed or property tax bill in their name. If the host is a renter, they must submit a signed letter from the property owner granting permission to operate a short-term rental.
  5. Liability Insurance: Hosts must maintain liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 to cover potential damages or injuries that may occur during a guest's stay. A copy of the insurance policy or a certificate of insurance must be provided during the application process.

These documents serve to verify the host's identity, residency, and legal right to operate a short-term rental in Queens County. They also ensure the safety of guests and compliance with local regulations.

Hosts can obtain these documents from various sources, such as government agencies, utility companies, banks, insurance providers, and property owners. The specific documents required may vary depending on the host's circumstances, such as whether they own or rent the property.

All documents must be submitted through the Short-Term Rental Registration Portal at https://strr-portal.ose.nyc.gov/s/?language=en_US, along with the completed application.

Queens County Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental hosts in Queens County, New York are subject to several types of taxes at the state and local levels. Understanding these taxes is crucial for operating a compliant and profitable rental business.

New York State Sales Tax: Short-term rentals in New York State are subject to a 4% state sales tax. This tax applies to rentals of less than 90 consecutive days.

New York City Sales Tax: In addition to the state sales tax, short-term rentals in New York City, including Queens County, are subject to an 8.875% city sales tax.

New York City Hotel Room Occupancy Tax: Queens County short-term rentals are also subject to the New York City Hotel Room Occupancy Tax, which is 5.875%. This tax is collected by the city and is in addition to the state and city sales taxes.

New York City Hotel Unit Fee: A daily fee of $1.50 per unit is also imposed on short-term rentals in New York City, including Queens County.

In total, short-term rental hosts in Queens County can expect to pay a combined tax rate of approximately 20.25%, which includes the state sales tax, city sales tax, hotel room occupancy tax, and daily hotel unit fee.

Potential Tax Deductions

While short-term rental hosts in Queens County are subject to various taxes, they may also be eligible for certain tax deductions. These deductions can help offset the costs of operating a rental business and reduce overall tax liability. Some potential deductions include:

  1. Mortgage interest
  2. Property taxes
  3. Rental property depreciation
  4. Utilities
  5. Cleaning and maintenance expenses
  6. Supplies for guests
  7. Insurance premiums
  8. Advertising and marketing costs
  9. Professional fees (e.g., accounting, legal)

It is important for short-term rental hosts to keep accurate records of all income and expenses related to their rental business. Consulting with a tax professional can help ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws and maximize potential deductions.

New York State-Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While each city and county in New York may have its own specific regulations, there are several state-wide laws and requirements that affect short-term rental hosts in Queens County.

One of the most significant state laws is the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, which prohibits short-term rentals (less than 30 consecutive days) in "Class A" multiple dwellings, which includes most residential apartment buildings. This law applies to all of New York State, including Queens County.

In addition to the state-wide Multiple Dwelling Law, New York City's Local Law 18, also known as the Short-Term Rental Registration Law, has a significant impact on Queens County hosts. As of September 5, 2023, all short-term rental hosts in New York City, including Queens, must register with the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) and comply with several restrictions:

  1. The host must reside in the dwelling unit being rented and be present during the guests' stay if it is for less than 30 days
  2. The rental can accommodate a maximum of two paying guests
  3. Guests must have free and unobstructed access to every room and exit within the unit

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant penalties for hosts, ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 for advertising an unregistered rental, and up to $5,000 for other violations.

In terms of taxes, short-term rental hosts in New York State are subject to several taxes, including:

  1. New York State sales tax at a rate of 4%
  2. New York City sales tax of 8.875%
  3. New York City Hotel Room Occupancy Tax of 5.875%
  4. New York City Hotel Unit Fee of $1.50 per day

Hosts must collect and remit these taxes to the appropriate authorities. Failure to do so can result in penalties and legal consequences.

It's important for short-term rental hosts in Queens County to stay informed about both state-wide and local regulations, as non-compliance can lead to significant fines and the potential shutdown of their rental business. Consulting with local authorities, legal experts, and professional organizations can help hosts navigate the complex regulatory landscape and ensure they are operating within the law.

Does Queens County Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in online forums like Reddit and BiggerPockets, it appears that Queens County and New York City as a whole strictly enforce short-term rental regulations, making it a challenging environment for Airbnb hosts compared to other cities.

Many hosts express frustration with the strict rules imposed by Local Law 18, which went into effect in September 2023. One Reddit user shared their concerns, stating, "The new rule will fine you 1-5k if you are not registered with the OSE, and it finally forces you to host only the rooms in the unit where you reside."

Another user pointed out the challenges of operating an STR in a multi-family home, saying, "3 family or more goes against the MDL law for str renting. Which is even larger fines if you go off platform and get caught."

On the BiggerPockets forum, a user inquired about the possibility of making a deal with a landlord to legally rent and furnish a place for short-term rentals. However, the responses suggest that this is not a viable option due to the city's restrictions.

Despite the strict regulations, some hosts continue to operate short-term rentals in Queens County, albeit at a higher risk of facing penalties. A Reddit user shared their experience, stating, "The city won't be checking if host is in the apartment lol. So guest would still have a private space."

However, it is important to note that operating an illegal short-term rental can result in significant fines and legal consequences. One user warned, "By engaging in airbnbs you are engaging in illegal shit. Go to a hotel!"

In conclusion, Queens County and New York City are not considered Airbnb-friendly compared to other cities due to their strict enforcement of short-term rental regulations. While some hosts may continue to operate despite the rules, they face a higher risk of penalties and legal issues. The general consensus among online forum users is that Queens County is a challenging environment for short-term rental hosts.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Queens County

Starting a short-term rental business in Queens County requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Follow these steps to get started:

Research local regulations: Familiarize yourself with Queens County's short-term rental laws, including Local Law 18, which requires hosts to register with the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) and imposes restrictions on rentals. Understand zoning laws, occupancy limits, and other requirements specific to your property's location. Consult with a local real estate attorney or the OSE to ensure you fully understand and comply with all applicable regulations.

Determine your property's eligibility: Verify that your property is eligible for short-term rentals. In Queens County, you must be the permanent occupant of the dwelling unit, and rentals are limited to a maximum of two paying guests at a time. Rent-regulated units and certain buildings prohibit short-term rentals. Check with your homeowners' association or landlord to confirm that short-term rentals are permitted in your building or community.

Register with the OSE: Apply for a short-term rental registration through the OSE's online portal. You will need to provide personal information, listing details, and pay a $145 application fee. Registration is required before listing your property on any booking platform. Prepare all required documents, such as proof of identity and occupancy, in advance to streamline the registration process.

Obtain necessary licenses and permits: While there is no specific short-term rental license required in New York State, you may need to obtain a general business license and register for state and local taxes. Contact your local city or county offices to determine any additional licensing requirements.

Prepare your property: Ensure your rental unit is safe, clean, and well-maintained. Install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers as required by law. Provide essential amenities and consider offering additional features to make your rental more attractive to guests. Invest in high-quality photos of your property to showcase its best features and attract potential guests.

Create a detailed listing: Craft an accurate and compelling listing description, including information about your property's location, amenities, and house rules. Be transparent about any limitations or restrictions to manage guest expectations. Highlight unique selling points, such as proximity to popular attractions or special amenities, to differentiate your rental from competitors.

Set competitive rates: Research similar short-term rentals in your area to determine a competitive nightly rate. Consider factors such as seasonality, events, and demand when adjusting your prices. Use dynamic pricing tools to automatically optimize your rates based on market conditions and maximize your revenue.

Manage your bookings and guests: Respond promptly to inquiries and booking requests. Provide clear check-in instructions and maintain open communication with guests throughout their stay. Be available to address any concerns or issues that may arise. Consider hiring a professional property management company to handle day-to-day operations if you have multiple listings or limited time to manage your rental.

By following these steps and staying informed about local regulations, you can successfully start and operate a short-term rental business in Queens County. Remember to prioritize guest satisfaction, maintain a high standard of cleanliness and safety, and comply with all legal requirements to ensure a thriving and sustainable business.

Who to Contact in Queens County about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions or concerns about short-term rental regulations and zoning in Queens County, there are several resources available:

Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE): The OSE is responsible for enforcing the Short-Term Rental Registration Law in New York City, including Queens County. You can contact them for general inquiries at 646-576-3533 or visit their website at https://www.nyc.gov/site/specialenforcement/index.page.

NYC Department of City Planning: For questions related to zoning, you can contact the Department of City Planning's Queens Borough Office at 718-520-2100 or visit their website at https://www.nyc.gov/site/planning/about/contact-us.page. They also have a Zoning Help Desk available at 212-720-3291 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5:30 pm) or via their online inquiry form.

NYC 311: You can call 311 or visit the NYC 311 website (https://portal.311.nyc.gov/) for general information and to file complaints about suspected illegal short-term rentals.

In addition to these official resources, there are several online communities and forums where hosts can connect, share experiences, and seek advice:

Airbnb Community - Local Host Clubs: Airbnb offers local host clubs where you can connect with other hosts in your area, exchange knowledge, and stay updated on the latest news and regulations. Find your local club at https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Local-Host-Clubs/ct-p/en_clubs.

NYC Airbnb Hosts Meetup Group: This Meetup group is designed for Airbnb hosts in New York City to learn how to become better hosts, improve guest experiences, and navigate regulations. Join the group at https://www.meetup.com/nyc-airbnb-hosts/.

New York City Airbnb Host Facebook Group: This private Facebook group is a platform for Airbnb hosts in NYC to connect, share experiences, and discuss various topics related to short-term rentals. You can request to join the group on Facebook.

By utilizing these official resources and engaging with the local host community, you can stay informed about short-term rental regulations and zoning in Queens County and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Queens County on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

Queens County Airbnb hosts have expressed frustration and concern over the strict short-term rental regulations implemented through New York City's Local Law 18. Many feel the rules are overly restrictive and unfairly target hosts trying to earn extra income. Here are some insights from local hosts on Reddit and BiggerPockets:

Reddit user u/donnyjay23 shared their experience as a first-time homeowner in Nassau County, just outside NYC. After successfully hosting on Airbnb for a year, they were given a $500 citation and told to cease operations or face fines up to $10,000 and possible jail time. The user expressed feeling treated like a criminal despite living peacefully and causing no harm.

On the r/AirBnB subreddit, a Queens-based host asked for advice on navigating Local Law 18, which requires hosts to register with the city and only rent rooms in their primary residence. The host, who owns a 3-family home and lives in one unit, is concerned about the future of their rental business. One commenter suggested the host could still rent rooms in their unit, but the city won't check if the host is actually present.

A BiggerPockets user inquired about the legality of making a deal with a landlord to rent and furnish a place for short-term rentals in NYC. Responses indicated this would likely violate the city's restrictions, with one user stating, "By engaging in Airbnbs you are engaging in illegal shit. Go to a hotel!"

Another Reddit thread discussed the challenges of operating an STR in a multi-family home in Queens. The original poster noted, "3 family or more goes against the MDL law for str renting. Which is even larger fines if you go off platform and get caught."

On the Airbnb Community forum, a host shared their frustration with the new regulations, commenting, "The 'office of special enforcement' should focus on people renting out rent stabilized apartments or turning entire buildings into illegal hotels. People like me with one Airbnb that I own and rent occasionally should be left alone and allowed to make a little bit of money."

These discussions highlight the challenges and concerns Queens County hosts face in light of the strict short-term rental regulations. Many feel the rules are unfair to small-scale hosts and limit their ability to earn income from their properties. However, some also acknowledge the need to address issues like affordable housing and illegal hotel operations.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

⚡️
Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.