In June 2017, my apartment building was sold to new owners. Within two weeks, the new owners converted one full apartment in the building into an Airbnb, which is illegal if the host is not present in NYC. Day and night, guests cycled in and out of the building. They were loud, rude, and unneighborly. By the first week of July, the owners served my family, who have lived in the building for seven years, with an eviction notice, as well as the other long-time tenants of the building. It is September and our former apartment is now listed on Airbnb. Rather than being a year-round apartment for a family, it allows visitors to treat a place where people live and work as a playground. Airbnb has allowed building owners to turn apartments into hotels, destroying neighborhoods, communities, and worsening housing availability and affordability in a city with a 2% vacancy rate.
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.
I booked an Airbnb two months before a business trip with my children. The Airbnb host cancelled my reservation less than five days before my trip. I spent a full workday investigating alternative accommodations and communicating with Airbnb. The only available hotel room I could find was three times the price of my Airbnb property but without the amenities of my previously reserved (and paid for!) accommodations. Airbnb refused to compensate me for the full additional cost I incurred because of the host’s unprofessional cancellation. Customer service was slow and borderline rude. This organization clearly is not interested in customer satisfaction or host accountability. I will never use their services in the future.