UPDATE: New York Governor David Paterson late Friday signed the bill into law restricting some vacation rentals in New York City.
HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd says "sources on the ground" indicate that New York Governor David Paterson plans to veto a bill that would bar vacation rentals in New York City for durations of less than 30 days.
"I'm hoping that's true," says Shepherd, HomeAway's chief strategy and development officer.
The bill, S6873, was delivered to the governor July 13 and he has 10 days to veto or sign it, which means a decision should be imminent.
"The governor is currently reviewing the legislation and soliciting input from stakeholders on both sides of the issue," a spokesperson for the governor said this afternoon.
The legislation has provoked an outcry among vacation-rental owners, online vacation rental sellers and travel industry figures.
Here's a YouTube video from a New York City Hall rally July 21 in opposition to the bill, which was passed by the New York State Legislature.
Shepherd says HomeAway offers 875 vacation rental listings from New York City property owners and backs their efforts to ensure that Paterson doesn't sign the bill. He urged anyone opposed to the bill to contact the governor's office immediately.
Shepherd says the bill would be precedent-setting because it would be the first time that a state enacts legislation that limits property rights in one city.
Shepherd says HomeAway has been sharing and receiving information about the issue with "friendly competitors," although he declined to specify which ones.
Along those lines, TripAdvisor founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer sent a letter to Paterson urging him to veto the bill because "this legislation goes too far and threatens to shutter legitimate, trustworthy businesses."
"For a significant and growing number of tourists who vacation in New York each year, vacation rental properties offer a cost-effective way to visit the city," Kaufer wrote. "As the nation strives to overcome the worst economic downturn in decades, families need to make every dollar count and not everyone who wishes to enjoy New York’s attractions can afford some of the more expensive accommodation options. These travelers and their families depend on vacation rental properties, and their owners, to offer affordable alternatives, especially for travelers who wish to extend their stay by a week or more."
Travel guidbook publisher Arthur Frommer, too, blogged in opposition to the bill, arguing "the bill, in effect, would erect a barrier to staying in the city and the state, removing low-cost accommodations from the choices offered to tourists."
The stated purpose of the bill is to bar property owners from keeping New York City dwellings off the housing market by renting them out to vacationers.
There have been accusations that the hotel lobby is behind the bill as a way to clamp down on competition from vacation-rental owners.
The issue is not limited to New York City.
Paris, too, is cracking down on apartment rentals of less than a year, according to The New York Times.