Jay Karen and members of StayNYC to lobby for B&B exemption to Ch. 225 law unfairly punishing legiti
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Posted by: Ingrid Thorson
New York, NY (4-27-12) – Today Jay Karen, President & CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, joined New York City’s Ivy Terrace B&B innkeeper Vinessa Milando and others from StayNYC in testifying on behalf of the B&B industry before the New York State Assembly Committee on Housing. A hearing was held to examine the implementation of Chapter 225 of the Laws of 2010, which prohibits the illegal operation of hotels in buildings designated for permanent occupancy. The NY state law, enacted last year to protect tourists and tenants from illicit, illegal hotels operating outside the perimeter of state regulations (building, fire and housing codes), is severely impacting the legitimate innkeepers of New York, according to Karen and StayNYC proponents. Today, Karen and StayNYC members lobbied the NY State Assembly to allow exemptions to the law for legitimate B&Bs that have followed codes and offer legitimate alternatives to larger New York City hotels.
According to Karen and Milando, although they were told by local NY Assembly members that tax compliant B&Bs were "not the ones the city was after” the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement levied fines and legal fees amounting to approximately $17,000 per business on several professional and lawful B&Bs that have been in business for decades. One well-known B&B was forced to close as a result. Those appearing today before the NY State Assembly exposed the unjust nature of the law and lobbied for fairness toward small independent lodging properties and B&Bs.
B&Bs and vacation rentals share similar interests in offering alternative lodging to hotels, and are therefore on the same page when it comes to the unfair nature of the Chapter 225 law. According to Karen, "The law in question rendered nearly every variation of the vacation rental and B&B in New York City illegal, because we primarily operate in multiple dwelling buildings. So this law has B&Bs and vacation rentals on the same side. That being said, the B&B is different than the spare bedroom or individual apartment being labeled as an illegal hotel. B&Bs in particular are not party to the conflicts which were the basis for this law to be written two years ago.”
Karen went on to explain that inns and B&Bs often present an anomaly to city and town officials and zoning officers. "Over time, bed and breakfasts have demonstrated to city councils, counties and states everywhere that we deserve distinct considerations; that we are good citizens of our communities; that we practice good fire safety and security practices; that we attract the kinds of tourists who add great value to the local economy; and that we preserve historic residential properties like no other businesses in America,” said Karen. As a result, Karen contends that over the past 30 years, B&Bs have been identified as legitimate, unique businesses, and fair and proper regulations, laws and policies to support B&Bs have followed.
Karen urged the lawmakers to take a closer look at B&Bs so they will realize they are not the culprits in the improper operation of buildings designated for permanent occupancy. In an impassioned plea, Karen closed his words to the Assembly by asking for an exemption to the law and saying "We are not the ones flipping rent-controlled apartments into youth hostels. We are not commingling overnight tourists with permanent residents on the same hallway. We pay sales and occupancy taxes. We follow laws. We are secured properties. We offer the best hospitality. We preserve buildings. We attract the best tourists and travelers. We provide a means of living to true professionals. We are as legitimate as hotels.”
About PAII: The Professional Association of Innkeepers International, founded in 1988, and headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, is the innkeeping industry's largest trade association. PAII provides education, communications, public relations, advocacy, networking, and research services to its membership and the greater industry. In addition, PAII has created and is spearheading the "Better Way To Stay”, a groundbreaking, industry-wide campaign to help travelers discover today’s inns and B&B experience. For more information, visit www.innkeeping.org.
Not a PAII Member:Join today for as little as $89 and be part of the association that works to support the B&B industry.
# # #Click here for Jay Karen’s complete testimony offered to the NY State Assembly Committee on Housing: http://www.innkeeping.org/StayNYC-Testimony