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Small-Time Airbnb Hosts Call New York Law ‘Unfair’

From AP:

Jordan Reeves works for a nonprofit and his partner is a puppeteer. They say there’s not a lot of spare income floating around their Brooklyn apartment. That’s why they sometimes rent the place through Airbnb for extra cash when they’re not there.

But a new law that carries fines of up to $7,500 for certain kinds of short-term listings is causing headaches for many Airbnb hosts, including Reeves, who say they are getting unfairly swept up in a measure that’s more aimed at commercial operators who turn multiple apartments into, essentially, illegal hotels.

“Nobody wants illegal hotels … It seems as though we’re in the same bucket as the people who are taking advantage of the situation,” Reeves said, as he and a group of other hosts gathered across the street from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office last week to protest the law.

Signed by Cuomo, a Democrat, on Oct. 21, the law is one of the toughest in the country against Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms. It levies hefty fines against owners or tenants who offer to let others rent out their entire living space for less than 30 days, something that’s been illegal in New York for several years but didn’t previously carry such penalties. Under the new law, people can still rent out portions of their living spaces, like a single bedroom or a couch, for less than 30 days. It also doesn’t apply to some dwellings, like single-family homes or row houses.

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5 Comments

  • 1. also wrote:

    and also,
    I want to know opinions as to how people feel:
    is it fair for others to have a neighbor who does Airbnb, so that we and our children often have strangers around our homes?
    doesnt seem fair to me, esp. with small children

  • 2. Agree with "ALSO" (Comment #1) wrote:

    There’s way too much Air BNB in our neighborhood.
    The users of Air BNB have absolutely no stake in the safety and stability of our neighborhood. They are often in “vacation/party” mode. No one is screening them for criminal records or references like a good landlord would. They gawk at us frum people (and at the Caribbeans, too) like we are animals in a zoo, as they wheel their suitcases in and out of these houses and apartments used as Air BNB hotel-alternatives. Sometimes they stand/sit by windows with the curtains open, scantily clad.
    If Jordan Reeves and partner can’t afford to live where they live without doing this, they need to choose a more affordable community.
    If big-time landlords who are renting out units as Air BNBs can’t afford to make a profit on their houses and apartments, they are in the wrong business because their income is illegally obtained!!!!!
    Air BNB steals housing from stable families, couples, and singles who would like to LIVE here, not just visit, in that Air BNB users pay more than the landlord would make if the units were rented normally under a lease. THIS is a big reason why the law is what it is.
    I am horrified at seeing what widespread use of properties for Air BNB is doing in my area (Maple St.).
    If these Air BNB properties were available for longer-term rental, they would be more affordable due to increasing the size of the pool of available housing. I am not so naive to think that Air BNB alone is the reason for the crisis in housing in Crown Heights, but Air BNB only makes a bad housing situation even worse for everyone except greedy landlords, small-time landlords who are living beyond their true means, and transient tourists who use Air BNB.
    This law needs to be enforced, for the sake of the stability and safety of our community!!!!!

  • 3. To comment number 2 wrote:

    I would like to let you know that I marketed my 1 family house to Crown Heighters to rent for a few months without getting any renters. People are super picky when they rent an apartment : the bedrooms have to be a certain size, the location, the condition, parking etc etc. After a few months of showing it to Crown Heighters, and without any renters for my single family home, I had to cover my mortgage, so I did air bnb.

    There’s 2 sides to everything.

    • 4. There are other reasons wrote:

      It is normal during certain times of the year that it may be hard to find renters. We rent out our basement as an apartment, and sometimes it does take a few months to find a suitable tenant who is happy with the rental and whose references check out, etc. But with a bit of patience and financial planning, it always works out.
      If you find prospective tenants “super picky” is is probably because you are charging so much that, for that price, the prospective tenants feel they should get what they actually want — size of rooms, location, parking, condition, etc.
      You have unrealistic expectations as a landlord. What you are experiencing is NORMAL.
      You obviously got into landlord-ing without realizing what is required. A landlord has to save up some of the money paid in rent, to have a cushion to cover your costs when the apartment becomes vacant for a few months.
      If you cannot do that, you should not be a landlord, plain and simple. It sounds like you cannot really afford to own this rental property and function in NORMAL MARKET CONDITIONS.
      So in desperation, because you are overbudgeted in the mortgage department, you resorted to Air BNB. That is not a solution to your problem as a landlord. Sell this one-family house to someone who can afford and knows how to be a proper landlord and can do proper financial planning for the vicissitudes of real life as a landlord.
      It sounds like you need to put on your “big boy/girl” clothes and grow up, OR get out of the landlord business, instead of putting down prospective tenants as being “super picky”. You can sell your one-family house and then put the money into mutual funds, or gold, or bonds, or whatever.
      Your rental is clearly overpriced because you took on a mortgage you cannot afford, plain and simple, and you are in over your head. Air BNB is a cop out for amateur landlords (or for greedy ones who don’t care about the community) who are in over their heads and trying to live beyond their means.
      Sorry, but someone has to tell the truth about being a landlord!

    • 5. Illegal, against Torah, chilul Hashem wrote:

      Along with what the other responder to your post wrote here, please be reminded that what you are doing, in making your property available to transients through airbnb, is ILLEGAL.

      It is not the job of this city to make up for your trials and tribulations in the real world, and you are BREAKING THE LAW.

      The last I heard, this is also against Torah.

      It is also a chilul Hashem toward your non-Jewish neighbors, that a Jew would inflict airbnb presence on the previously family-atmosphere of the block where your rental property is located.

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