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New Airbnb legislation considered in Buffalo, adopted in Amherst

Posted at 7:05 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 19:05:06-04

(WKBW) — Rupinder Jatana is a "superhost" for Airbnb here in Buffalo. She's been a host since 2016 in the Parkside neighborhood.

Airbnb has become a booming business in Western New York. In 2018, WNY hosts took in more than $12 million. Erie County boasts 580 hosts, including Jatana. But with this boom, comes concerns from local lawmakers.

"The City of Buffalo is more than welcome to have them, we want them here, but we have to ensure everyone is safe," Buffalo Councilman Christopher Scanlon said. He's been working for months alongside fellow Councilman Joel Feroleto and Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa to adopt new rules and regulations. In both municipalities, the new legislation would require hosts to register the space, allow for inspections and pay fees towards registration and inspections.

Amherst adopted the resolution earlier this month, while Buffalo has yet to make it law. Jatana said, herself and other hosts just want to be a part of the conversation.

"We want to have legislation, we want to make sure that it's effective and we want to be able to give our input being experts in our own domain," Jatana said.

Both Amherst and Buffalo officials say public comment was advertised and opportunities were given over the last few months. Jatana added she would've gone if she knew about them.

Josh Meltzer, Head of Northeast Policy for Airbnb released this statement:

While we have been in communication with Buffalo and Amherst as they have considered local regulations, we have concerns about how these onerous regulatory packages will hurt the local residents who rely on home sharing for extra income, as well as small businesses that benefit from visitors.
Josh Meltzer, Head of Northeast Policy for Airbnb