The New York Times recently told of a pair of visitors from Boston who signed up for a sweet Airbnb deal on a Chelsea pad for $90 a night–and were surprised to have it turn out to be a seventh-floor unit in the neighborhood’s 11-building NYCHA Fulton Houses complex. The would-be guests noticed that “something seemed off,” starting with the roach trap next to the bed. The travelers tipped off the company, who refunded their money, and their story quickly became internet history as yet another way homestay platforms are being taken advantage of and another log on the fire of the debate that rages over what to do about it.
The Jersey City waterfront, via Pixabay
A big-money battle between Airbnb and the hotel industry may leave small hosts stranded after a decisive vote in Jersey City Tuesday. Voters in New Jersey’s second-largest city faced a referendum on new, beefed-up regulations on short-term rentals intended to limit the reach of Airbnb and other home-stay companies. According to the New York Times, voters overwhelmingly decided in favor of a law that will require owners of short-term rental properties to get a permit from the city, put a cap on the size and number of units that can be used for short term rental purposes, and limit short-stay rentals to a maximum of 60 days a year if the owner is not physically on-site. The ordinance also bars all renters from using their units as short-term rentals.
412 West 46th Street. Image via Google Street View..
The city has named the owners of three Hell’s Kitchen buildings in a lawsuit filed this week in Manhattan Supreme Court for operating illegal short-term rentals in rent-stabilized apartments, the New York Observer reports. The city says the owners of 410 and 412 West 46th Street and 452 West 36th Street have neglected their buildings, harassed tenants to get them to move out, deregulated units and kept units vacant to rent out on a short-term basis. Tenants of one building were left without gas or a roof for six months in 2015 due to a fire; the other two are awash in building code violations.
Image via CC.
New York City could make hostels legal under a bill, set to be introduced this week in the City Council, that would permit the super-budget accommodations to operate again after a state law made them illegal, the Wall Street Journal reports. The bill would provide hostels with their own separate department and classification under city law. The city’s hostels all but disappeared after a 2010 law covering multiple dwellings took aim at short-term rentals.
This adorable cottage, dubbed “The Mouse House” with a plaque on the front gate, is steps from coveted Campo Beach in Westport, Connecticut. Asking $999,000, the 1,229 square-foot four-bedroom home has been a popular Airbnb listing. It has literary cred as well: The current owner is a bestselling novelist.
75 Rockefeller Plaza via Google Street View
Ten floors of an office tower in Rockefeller Center will be converted into short-term rentals, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. RXR Realty, which has leased the tower at 75 Rockefeller Plaza since 2012, has partnered with Airbnb to transform a portion of the 87-year-old building into roughly 200 units of high-end lodging. In a press release, RXR CEO Scott Rechler described the new venture as a “travel experience that immerses guests in a dynamic, thriving community in the heart of Rockefeller Center that’s vastly different than anything else in the market today.”
Asbury Park, NJ; via Wikimedia
A surcharge on short-term rentals took effect last October in New Jersey, making it one of the first big states to implement such a tax. An 11.6 percent tax, dubbed the “Airbnb tax,” applies to properties rented for fewer than 90 days made on home-sharing sites or directly between a renter and homeowner, excluding deals arranged through a broker. But as homeowners gear up for the summer season in the coming months, owners of Jersey Shore rental homes say the tax has made it harder to fully book their properties ahead of beach season, the New York Times reported.
Via Creative Commons
In a win for Airbnb, a federal judge on Thursday blocked a New York City law aimed at curbing illegal short-term rentals, the New York Times reported. The law, signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last August and originally expected to take effect in February, would have required Airbnb and similar home-share companies to disclose the names and addresses of its hosts to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement monthly. Soon after, Airbnb filed a lawsuit against the city claiming an “extraordinary act of government overreach.” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer granted the company’s request for a temporary injunction against the law, which he wrote was likely unconstitutional.
Hudson, NY, is the place to head these days for a picture-perfect out-of-the-city weekend. Filled with fabulous restaurants, chic shops and darling dive bars, the Columbia County town’s mix of sophistication and small-town life hits just the right note. If you’ve dreamed of moving there and fixing up a quaint townhouse, you can live vicariously for a few nights–at $325 each, via Airbnb–at this charming carriage house. Featured on the Netflix renovation show, “Stay Here,” The Hudson River Carriage House is just a half block from the Warren Street main drag, but it’s so cute you may just want to stay in.
Located in the quaint-but-cool town of Tivoli, NY, about 100 miles from New York City in the Hudson River Valley near Bard College, this two-bedroom cabin, listed on Airbnb for $200 a night, has a Scandi-modern vibe, decor that reflects the hosts’ travels and eclectic past and plenty of creature comforts. The home’s friendly hosts call it a “cozy den,” which sounds about right–perfect for families, friends or couples.