City needs to be ahead of the curve on new tech
Nov 24, 2015 | 6613 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New York City is starting to have its hands full with unregulated tech start-ups. First there was the Uber debacle earlier this year, when Mayor Bill de Blasio learned the hard way that government can't take on a company with an unlimited marketing budget. Now, a similar war is being waged with Airbnb, and expect a similar outcome.

That doesn't mean, however, that the city shouldn't try and regulate the service that lets users turn their apartment into a hotel.

Before acknowledging that there's a problem, it's important to first acknowledge the benefit that Airbnb has to some New Yorkers. If you live in Rockaway, for example, and want to rent out your bungalow for a couple weekends, you can get a pretty price and help pay your mortgage. A lot of New Yorkers are rent burdened and a little extra cash can help.

But those benefitting are starting to hurt everyone else, more than they're helping themselves and that's where the city needs to step in.

Whether it's a new task force aimed at curbing violations related to emerging technology or maybe a new illegal hotel enforcement task force, the city needs to do something to the various egregious uses of Airbnb hurting regular New Yorkers.

Recently, city-subsidized affordable housing units at Hunters Point South were reportedly being listed for $500 a night. Two nights could cover the cost of rent in some places, but it's unfair to those tens of thousands of people who missed out on those affordable units and are still struggling to live in the city. It's also unfair to those whose tax money is going towards those rent subsidies.

The hard-earned tax dollars of regular New Yorkers should not be going towards helping people take advantage of the system. Affordable housing is great, and the city arguably needs a lot more of it, but when people see an opportunity to exploit it, it's a loophole that needs to be closed and sealed shut permanently.

It's a new era where tech companies come up with new ideas before a law is in place to regulate it.
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