NYC could see resurgence of hostels if City Council bill passes

The bill also would create a new “Office for Licensed Hotels.”

Tourists staying in New York City could soon have more alternatives to pricey hotels if a proposed City Council bill becomes law.

Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Councilman Mark Gjonaj on Wednesday introduced legislation that would legalize hostels throughout New York City, The Wall Street Journal first reported. Lawmakers passed a law in 2010 aimed at stymieing illegal hotel rentals, but the regulations ended up restricting hostels as well. 

The proposed legislation also would create a new “Office for Licensed Hotels” that operates within the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, according to a summary of the bill, as well as “establish a licensing scheme and regulations for constructing and operating such hostels,” the summary added.

“At a moment where the city is welcoming an unprecedented number of tourists and even more opportunities to highlight the history, culture and small businesses that define New York, we’re also sadly seeing an explosion in illegal Airbnb rentals that take critical affordable housing stock out of the market for personal gain,” Chin said in a statement.

“As we continue to explore legislative solutions to curb this unscrupulous activity, we also need to correct the antiquated laws that have accidentally put alternative options, such as hostels, out of business,” she added.

The bill would go into effect 180 days after it becomes law.

Maya Rajamani