Starting this Sunday, it’ll be illegal to rent out an apartment for less than 30 days in New York State.
Supporters say the law will shut-down so-called “NO-tels” – illegal hotels and hostels in the city…that specialize in short-term rentals. They say these rentals jeopardize permanent residents’ safety and quality of life.
But the businesses who run these short-term rentals say what they’re doing is LEGAL. And when things get out of hand, they’re on it.
Joe Danielewicz (Daniel-witz) reports.
At a ground floor apartment on 88th Street near Central Park West, Judah Charytan welcomes Roger Cooke and Ashley Boone to his apartment.,… it will be theirs’s for the next week..
“Welcome to New York and to the apartment,” Charytan said welcoming his guests.
“The other folks slept here this morning, so the house keeper will be here later this morning and will get it cleaned up,” Charytan continued, showing the apartment to his guests.
Charytan has a lot of visitors these days, as tourist seasons picks up.
The Australians found Charytan’s apartment through AirBNB.
“We just like the more relaxed way of an apartment,” said Boone standing near the studio’s kitchen. “Hotels usually want you out by a certain time so they can clean. So we can be a little more self sufficient.”
Roger adds, “So we can cook.”
They liked the location and at a $140 a night, it’s much cheaper than many New York hotels.
Charytan started renting his apartment over a year ago… He got such a good response and now rents two other apartments solely for short-term rentals.
He makes enough money so that he doesn’t have to work another job.
But these short-term rentals can cause problems for permanent residents.
One neighbor noticed the guests and spoke with Charytan about people in the buildings.
“I’m sure he’d prefer that there weren’t random people coming in and out.” Charytan says. “To the best that I can, I definitely screen the people. One of the advantages about Air BNB is you can post reviews about the travelers.“
As far as he knows, Charytan says there haven’t been any problems with the guests.
In the East Village Stafanie Tran lives in a building where more than half of the units are short-term rentals leased by a company called “Hotel Toshi.”
Security is a big issue with the guests for Tran.
“Sometimes they prop open the door which means the entire building is open” she said. “Normally we felt pretty safe because we’re in the back building, but if they leave everything unlocked, that leaves us open to the same things they’re going through in the front part.“
She says the temporary neighbors are perpetually on vacation.
“People that are up ‘til 4 or 5 AM, that are making a lot of noise, that are smoking
out of their apartment,’ according to Tran. “Their windows are open and they’re just doing kind of crazy things.”
The problems are so bad, Tran says some of the long-term residents want to move out and get away.
State Senator Liz Krueger represents the Midtown and the Upper East Side. She sponsored the bill after receiving resident complaints about guests in their buildings…
“Partying and perhaps drunk and raucous, in the hallways at all hours of the day and night, is not a good model for residential living” she said in her office.
Kruger says the law is meant strengthen enforcement but won’t target the individuals who may rent out their apartment time to time…
The point is to keep people safe.
“People who rent housing can be assured they are in safe, secure buildings with
other perm residents. That they are not finding themselves in party-scene illegal housing situation, literally down the hall.”
Hotel Toshi is one of the companies that could be affected by the new law. They declined an interview on tape, but emailed a statement defending their business:
“We have policies that are in place to make sure no long term tenants that inhabit some of the apartments in the same buildings we occupy are never bothered or inconvenienced by our guests. …
“But sometimes, just like in any other business, things happen that are not in your immediate control – and the best we can do is try to rectify those issues as they arise.”
Enforcement is complaint driven… If there is an issue, residents can file a complaint with the city by calling 311.
But it could take a while for the city to check it out… There’s too few inspectors to cover the whole city… and unless someone is caught “red-handed” it might be difficult to prove something illegal took place.
One group of Lower East Side residents took their previous building management to housing court in part to get Hotel Toshi out.
Nancy Koan lives in that building along East 9 Street near Avenue A and says the Hotel Toshi “guests” changed the building’s character.
“They were nice travelers, but everyday you’re seeing a stranger in your building”
Koan said in a phone interview. “You don’t feel like it’s your building. You’re staying in a strange place because you don’t recognize the people.”
That law banning short-term rentals goes into effect Sunday.