Bad news on apartment rentals

To the dismay of everyone in the travel industry other than hotel executives, Gov. David Paterson of New York has signed legislation outlawing the rental of apartments in New York — which means primarily New York City — for periods of less than 30 days.

This is very bad news for family tourists everywhere who’ve recently discovered the joys of renting an apartment for the week, rather than a hotel room. As parents of two small children, I wouldn’t say that the availability of apartment rentals is the difference between going or not, but it is often the difference between having a good time versus a nightmare of four people crowded into an over-priced hotel. Not only do apartment rentals mean not paying for a lot of hotel amenities that go unused by families, they also provide a kitchen, which helps families stay away from hotel restaurants and the dreaded $10 glass of orange juice.

Sadly, this “crackdown” appears to be part of a trend, yet I don’t understand who is driving it. In Paris, some are making an argument that apartment rentals take real estate out of the market, therefore making it more unaffordable for locals. On the other hand, since apartments appear to be serving a need, wouldn’t a lot of these apartments turn into hotels anyway, following the same logic, especially since hotels would be charging twice the rate of an apartment rental?

Still, New York City, Maui and Paris will now be places where you can’t simply contact a real estate broker and rent an apartment for the week of your stay. Let’s all hope that this misguided effort eventually will be repealed through the political process.

From Frommer: New York limits apartment rentals to tourists

We can only hope, a new “lobby” of owners will educate politicians on the error of their ways. And hopefully, fast, before they really crack down on what has become a very popular alternative for many vacationers, especially families.