NYC Apartments Illegally Converted to Rent on Airbnb

I am a tenant in a rent-controlled residential apartment building in New York City. Our landlady has evicted several tenants under the guise she needs the apartment unit for family members. Once they had been vacated, the landlady brought in IKEA furniture and set up the units for Airbnb guests. The new state laws allow for short-term Airbnb rentals of 30 days or more if the host is the lease holder. Because this particular building is rent controlled, the owner gets tax breaks in exchange for abiding by rent regulations. She must lease out units to renters who will carry a minimum of a one-year lease. The NY Department of Buildings inspectors have investigated this situation, have interviewed Airbnb guests within the building and have slapped three sets of fines. The landlady is now facing court proceedings for her illegal conversion of residential apartments into hotel accommodations. Here’s an example of how much money she is making. One particular apartment was vacated in January 2017 with an outgoing rent of $1743. This same apartment is now being listed on Airbnb for $5483 per month. I continue to see this landlady’s listings on Airbnb. I’ve contacted Airbnb to no avail. In a building of 16 apartment units, only five apartments are occupied by leaseholders. When will this end? Airbnb has allowed building owners to turn apartments into hotel units without paying any hotel tax.

Airbnb Owners Traumatise Neighboring Family

We have attempted to communicate with our neighbours for the last three years to find some sort of resolution to the constant intrusion to our family life. Our communication has been up and down to say the least but we are now blocked. In summary they have countered, ignored and deferred our desperate pleas for action for three years. I guess if they are earning $600 a night for a heavily booked hotel with no consequences, it’s not in their best interest to acknowledge our concerns. Insulating the house and putting up a decorative privacy screen does nothing to mitigate the foul behaviour and assaults that emanate from an openly advertised party venue. The owners are running the business next door and they are responsible for what happens there. I believe that as an owner of the property they should be held accountable for what happens. We have been verbally and physically abused and my children now have to ask if it’s ok to play in our back yard. Airbnb have ignored our multiple reports and phone calls. I was hit by flying beer and wine bottles last week. What does it take?

 

Constant Noise from Airbnb Guests Annoys Neighbors

My next door neighbour owns 15 properties in Dublin, and unfortunately we happen to live next to one of them. The listing says up to six people are allowed (for a two-bedroom apartment), which effectively allows big groups of friends to rent it. As a results, every other weekend we suffer from loud music and noises coming from this apartment. Our efforts to speak to the visitors is nothing more than a short-term solution. They might listen and somewhat calm down but there are new people every few days. We’ve never seen the owner, and we unable to discuss this matter with him. We’ve been forced to file a complaint with Airbnb, but still have yet to receive a reply.

Host Nightmare: Religious Beliefs vs. Guest Rights

I have had the worst experience hosting in my house. The guest’s name is Fernando, staying from January 10th to February 14th, 2017. I’m really upset about his behavior – his irresponsible act of throwing a lot of tissues into my toilet until it was clogged. I spent 350,000 rupees to fix that and I decided to just let it be my burden. Second, he didn’t put any effort into keeping the house clean. Everything was always messed up: all his clothes were scattered around the floor, and his hair after shaving was everywhere on the floor. He left the house in a condition where all my appliances were on, which is very dangerous. Can you imagine if there was any short circuit that could cause a fire? I have always asked for his permission whenever there’s a regular checkup and he said I was snooping on him. It’s normal to have a regular checkup in my own house otherwise he would have broken all my belongings. I do respect him as a guest in my country, but I don’t think he does the same to me. He has known from the beginning that my neighborhoods are predominantly Muslim, and he didn’t seem to respect that.

Last thing, I just can’t tolerate the fact he brought a woman to my house for sex. Though there wasn’t any stated rule that prohibits adultery on my property, it is an obvious covenant for Muslims to never allow adultery in any way. This isn’t a hotel; this is my house and it is strictly prohibited for adultery to happen in my house and around the neighborhood. He should have known this because I told him in the very beginning that the neighborhoods are predominantly Muslim, and he definitely knows that Muslims are prohibited from allowing adultery. However, he just didn’t abide by the covenant. I have always tried to do my best to serve him as my guest: I’ve tried to fix anything he has complained about, I’ve tried to fulfill his requests, and I’ve definitely asked for his permission when my family visits to have a regular checkup of the property. We’ve always emptied his trash and cleaned the house. I apologize for this situation, but bringing a woman in the house is truly crossing the line.

I have a lot of friends from the US and all other parts in the worlds as my business partners, and this is truly the first disappointing experience for me. He is my first and my last guest because I’ve unlisted all my houses on Airbnb. Now he is requesting a refund because security chased that woman out of my house after his stay was almost finished. After all he has done to my house, it’s really challenging my sanity. I’ve tried to call Airbnb in the US, Malaysia and Singapore so many times. I’ve stayed on the phone for ten minutes and there isn’t any answer. It is so frustrating to have never reached Airbnb customer service for resolving such problems.

Uninvited Guests Make Themselves at Home in our Airbnb

I am a guest who stayed at an Airbnb and had a horrible experience. When I arrived at the house there was one female, one male, and two children in the house. The women identified herself as “Sam” and informed me that the night before there was a party at the house; a door on one of the bedrooms was broken, they did a clean up of the house, and it was perfect now. Sam handed me a single key, said only I was allowed to have it, and said that there would be a security guard downstairs. I asked Sam if the security guard would be there all night and she informed me that he would not be. I checked the house and noticed that the floors were sticky; there was dirt everywhere and there were stains on the sofas. There was dust everywhere and there were two blinds broken.

When I was setting up the table for dinner I tried to turn on the lights and half the ones in the kitchen were not working. I called Sam and asked about this. She told me to go into the basement and get a lamp. At this point I felt there were cameras in the house because she knew every move as I was making it. I went into the basement as she told me to. I went to the washroom and the toilet would not flush properly. My guest and I went to to get food. I tried to lock the door and the key would not work. I called Sam to inform her. She said “in her haste she had given me the wrong key” and told me to leave the door unlocked. I asked one of my guests to come to the house because I had personal items there. I received a call from Sam saying there was someone in the house. They had neighbours watching the house and I felt very uncomfortable with this.

During my dinner, some of my guests were outside and noticed a young boy come out from the basement. We asked if he wanted food; he came and ate some and one of my guests asked if he was with the security guard. He told us his father owned the house and was sleeping downstairs. I was never told he was the owner nor that they would be sleeping in the basement. I was told that this security guard was not going to be sleeping downstairs. After I noticed that the young boy kept coming upstairs and speaking to my guests, I was being questioned by Sam about the number of people there. There were only sixteen. The young boy was upstairs when Sam called me so I asked him to speak to Sam; she said that the music was too loud and I overheard the young man say his father kicked him out of his room in the basement.

Around 3:00 AM I received a phone call from a number I did not know. I picked up and it was the young man’s father saying that the neighbours called him and he was going to call the police. If they came, we would get kicked out. At this point I became irate. I only spoke to Sam – she was the only person who had my number and she had given my number to this security guard. I never authorized anyone to give out my information outside of Airbnb. When my guest and I were going to bed the young man came upstairs and said his father kicked him out of the basement and he had nowhere to sleep. I rented this place and the owner’s son was upstairs looking upset with nowhere to sleep… we could not say “sorry, no” at 4:00 AM. As human beings, we offered him a pillow. I stayed downstairs to clean and noticed that the young man got up, turned on an alarm, and went back downstairs. Some of my guests were so upset with what happened they left. Overall this entire experience has been horrible from the start.

I’m Not Even a User and I Can’t Stand Airbnb

I’m not even an Airbnb user and I absolutely can’t stand them anyway. So many people in my building rent their flats to tourists who get insanely drunk, shout like crazy day and night, make a mess of our shared toilets, and won’t go to sleep cause they’re too busy shouting or taking drugs and yelling (I live in Amsterdam). This is a sort of mixed industrial area, and our walls and ceilings are pretty thin. There’s no isolation so since the whole Airbnb hype started, life has become so much less enjoyable, more like a living hell. Our building has now suffered from so many incidents: things get stolen, Airbnb people ring your doorbell at night because of course they have no idea which doorbell to ring when they’re so drunk and drugged.

Can anyone just sue Airbnb? The world was a better place without it. The worst part is that my “friends” don’t ever have space in their house for me anymore because they’re all renting their spare rooms to Airbnb users. When I’ve needed a place to stay, everyone says no because they have Airbnb guests. Honestly, that means those “friends” suck, but it’s also creepy that everyone is letting strangers stay in their houses. From what I hear, this site is way more expensive than most hotels anyway. Why not stay at a nice hotel where you’re provided privacy and security? People are weird.

Drug-Addled Maniac Damages Guests’ Car

Six of us paid to stay at this Airbnb for three nights, from January 13-15th. The first two nights went great; we met some of the people who lived in the house and it was peaceful and pleasant. On the third night (Sunday the 15th), one of the people who lived in the house, Q, told a member of our group to park his car in the front yard of the house. We then went to a concert in downtown Atlanta, 30 minutes away. While we were away, we received many urgent phone calls telling us that the car had to be moved because it was blocking one of the tenant’s car in, and he needed to get to work. We explained that we were 30 minutes away, Q told us to park there, and that we would pay for an Uber to get the man to work. He would not accept this offer, and two members of our group went back to the house to move the car. Upon arrival, our group member saw that his car was keyed and there was a crazed, drug-addled maniac screaming at them. He tried to force our group members to pay him $250 for the work that he missed (he was only an hour late) and was screaming at them and giving them death threats. He told them to pack up all of our stuff and get out of the house. Our group members were frightened beyond belief, and while they were moving their cars the only thing the people at the house said was “don’t cry and drive.” We then had to purchase a hotel room and stay there for the night. I do not think this house should be listed on Airbnb. I would like a refund at least for the one night that we needed to sleep in a hotel because of these crazy people, and if possible a reimbursement for the money spent on the hotel room and to fix the damage to the car.

Airbnb Neighbor Rents Out Home for Large Parties

I live next door to a large modern home in Sherman Oaks, California. For months we’ve seen people coming and going, films being shot, and dogs barking all day and all night. However, New Year’s Eve made us realize this house is actually empty and is being rented out for large parties. New Year’s Eve was pure hell. Even at 3:00 AM the music was still pounding, women were screaming and giggling, beer bottles were being thrown, furniture was being toppled on the back porch, and there were firecrackers being set off. Over 300 people in one house. If it happens again the police will become involved. The owner has turned this place into a frat flophouse. She should be ashamed of herself. None of the neighbors are happy. Maybe Airbnb as a company should vet these owners a little more carefully. I will make this owners life miserable if it continues. There’s no way to contact Airbnb. I tried and all they keep doing is sending me rental listings in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t use Airbnb if my life depended on it. They are as much to blame as these absentee owners who are just in it to collect the rent.

Bad Experience with Airbnb in Washington DC

The apartment was described as “cosy”. It was not. The place was dirty, dingy, run down and misrepresented. After two days of a four-day booking we could not take it any more and moved out to a hotel for the rest of our stay in Washington DC. We have not asked for a two-day refund yet because we were just so glad to get out. I notified the hosts, “Steven” and “Jane”, we were not happy with the apartment (without providing any details) and thanked them for their help before we arrived and also for the cleaning credit. We have heard nothing back from them. Like many other guests, we never met them before this trip.

Steven and Jane call it their home. We saw no evidence that it was used as a permanent home. For example, a complaint from another guest this summer about a big hole in the wall where there was an electrical plug in the bedroom was still there in mid-October of 2016. The small gas stove was so filthy inside and out that no one would ever want to use it. The air intake in a hallway was covered in dirt and could not have been cleaned for months or even years. There was no evidence at all of any male presence… and no man would ever put up with a toilet seat that would not stay up. The bathroom tub was rusted around the taps and the ceiling was peeling off above it. The place had not been painted for years.

To us this apartment looked like it was simply a substandard rental for unsuspecting tourists. It is in a very old run-down building which, unlike many similar buildings in the area, has not been kept up. The hallway and front door outside the apartment is filthy. When we arrived the place had not been cleaned. I contacted Steven and Jane by text and was promised a refund of the cleaning charge. So far we have not received it. The only good thing about our short stay is that people in the area were all very friendly. The attached photos are only a small sample of what this “cozy” apartment really looks like. I could only post five photos; they did not include the hazardous kitchen wall plug that has several adapters added to accommodate all the appliance plugs. We will be filing a complaint with Airbnb and also with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

The Last Straw: Tired of Being an Airbnb Host

I’ve been a host for three years now and have stayed in Airbnbs around the world several times. After several years, I have finally had it: I am ending my relationship with Airbnb and moving on to long term renters. I have two listings; one is private room in my condo, and the other is an entire home (one-bedroom condo) that I purchased for the sole purpose of renting it out. This post is to discourage others from becoming involved with Airbnb. It’s been a rough ride these fast few years… In the early days, there were sweet guests who brought gifts, followed the rules and genuinely wanted to get to know the person they were living with or living under. Over time though, guests seem to be more driven by finding cheap accommodations and the demands are ever increasing. They expect deep cleans of the condo but argue with me over the cleaning fees, ask to borrow my car, and complain about the pillows being too soft or hard. They will empty out my mini bar and leave no monetary contribution, walk around in their underwear, be mean to my cat, etc.

The listing says the condo is not metro accessible but they didn’t want to pay the high rate to stay on the metro line and don’t have a car to get to the grocery store. If the condo doesn’t have something in stock like some flour, they simply knock on a neighbor’s door (which is terribly rude – they don’t have a rapport with that person and sometimes don’t return the item they borrowed). Airbnb requires guests to list a phone number but many times I’ve found that number is not the actual guest’s number or the guest doesn’t have an international plan and his phone is useless. There were some guests that had me constantly running back and forth: they needed more baking sheets, then a crock pot, vinegar, and sunscreen, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a review.

The maximum occupancy is six guests but I charge an additional $5 after two guests; somehow, magically, no one ever has any party larger than two. I realize I could snoop around or try and check in and maybe I could see how many folks are staying there, but the minute I say “Hey, the listing requires an additional $5/person and you have six here so I will be adding $100 to your stay,” I am basically asking for a terrible review. I have seen the nicest people turn vicious and threaten to say I am prejudiced or discriminating. The accusation is already enough to ruin people nowadays. Airbnb touts this “trust community” but over 90% of my guests are first time renters and many of them rent infrequently.

Airbnb asks that I leave fresh flowers, breakfast foods, wine and beverages, games, and snacks. Less than 5% of guests have ever just left a few dollars. A Sam Adams beer might be $7 from a mini bar in a hotel, but you can’t leave $1 for the two you drank? Really? This is how you would treat a friend who was hosting you? Guests have broken things in front of me; I have taken diligent pictures, submitted my quote to Airbnb’s Resolution Center, where as always the guest refuses to pay, and even though I have a Security Deposit and have been a Super Host for three years I have to go through Airbnb’s insurance policy for a $12 plate. I have made a lot of money with Airbnb but I constantly check myself to make sure I am not being greedy and overcharging.

Sometimes, peoples’ personal stories do make me empathize. I’ve let pets stay on request, allowed early or late check outs when I can, picked up items from the grocery store, and given rides to the city center. Guests will ignore my calls for a day then expect me to pick up after two rings every time. As a host it just comes down to Airbnb as a company. I don’t believe they will take care of me if something bad happens. I’ve often wondered if convicted sex offenders can rent out rooms in homes (how would we know?). Airbnb puts all the tax strains on me and forces me to pay the occupancy tax (which I’m happy to do, but it would be nice if they took on the administrative burden).

Despite three years of loyalty I never get a thank you card or Airbnb travel credit, and in the hospitality industry usually employees are at least reminded how important they are. Last but not least, I feel really terrible for my neighbors. Over the years some have been kind while others have gone to the Condo Board and local county government. There was one gentleman who lived in the building who wrote his congressman, county officials, and attorneys. While he was a little over the top, I get it: he wanted actual neighbors and not a revolving door. Who would buy the condo next to the full time Airbnb? If I ever thought I was hosting individuals who were going to have a disruptive vacation I would never have accepted that reservation. It is so hard to screen guests because I only see a picture and a paragraph or two, and anyone can say they are in the area visiting family or friends. The review system is pretty hit or miss; sometimes it’s hard to leave a negative review because I have to question if I’m being too judgmental or expecting too much from the guests. Goodbye Airbnb. You just saw a little piece of your paycheck prance over to YourHomeSuite.