Home Tech ‘I must love dogs and rude roommates’: The struggle to navigate Airbnb’s crackdown in New York

‘I must love dogs and rude roommates’: The struggle to navigate Airbnb’s crackdown in New York

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'I must love dogs and rude roommates': The struggle to navigate Airbnb's crackdown in New York

YouUntil recently, visitors to New York basically had two options: hotel rooms or short-term rental platforms like Airbnb. But in September 2023, the city began enforcing a 2022 law that prohibited people from renting their homes for less than 30 days (unless the host was staying in the home with guests).

Now the only legitimate option for people visiting the city is hotel rooms, and for many they are unaffordable. Most Times Square hotels don’t have rooms for less than $300 a night. A search on Thursday, May 2, found the Muse at $356, the Hampton Inn at $323, and the Hard Rock at $459 (although due to pricing dynamics, these are subject to regular change). They are becoming more and more expensive. Hotel rates have increased between the first quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2023 at twice the rate of inflation, said Jan Freitag, an analyst at real estate data firm CoStar Group.

Many visitors and New Yorkers have turned to the black rental market, where Facebook groups, Craigslist posts, Instagram listings, and word of mouth have become the go-to option for finding short-term rentals across the five boroughs.

If you have friends in New York, you’ve probably seen Instagram Stories. “Hey guys! Subletting my room in a 5-bedroom apartment for four days over Easter! Must be good with dogs and rude roommates! DM if interested!”

Other travelers have headed to New Jersey, causing the kaleidoscope of cities across the Hudson River to become the fastest-growing market for Airbnb demand in the country, according to analytics site AirDNA. Others have opted for hotels, which are expected to become more expensive in the coming years. For many tourists there is still no good response to the so-called Airbnb ban.

Yoya Busquets, 56, is considering an Airbnb in New Jersey, but she really wants to be in the city when she visits from Barcelona in early September with her husband and two teenage daughters. She snooped around Facebook a bit and chatted on Messenger with some people advertising short-term rentals there. The last time she was in New York, in 2012, she stayed at an Airbnb in Brooklyn and wants a similar experience. Maybe she’ll get lucky.

“I’m contacting a girl who has a place available for a week and it’s listed on Airbnb as being in New Jersey, but when you contact her they tell you it’s in Brooklyn,” he said.

The apartment is also close to the area where you last stayed and is within your budget of $160 per night. It’s the best option you’ve found, considering the cost of the hotels and the space they offer for your daughters to relax after busy days running around. But the setup probably doesn’t comply with the new laws, which is why the apartment is listed in Jersey.

Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. For a hotel, “I would have to pay about $400 a night and I don’t have the money for that amount,” said a New Yorker who was looking to host her parents. Photography: Ryan Deberardinis/Alamy

According to AirDNA, which tracks data from short-term rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, listings for stays of less than 30 days have fallen 83% since August 2023, when regulations began to take effect. There were once 22,200 short-term listings available in New York City; now there are only 3,700, according to AirDNA.

While juggling his thesis, finishing his classes, and looking for a job that will allow him to continue living in the U.S., Tehsin Pala, 24, has been looking for a place for his family to stay in May, when he graduates. from New York University. journalism program.

“This is their first time coming to New York City and I want to give them a good experience,” Pala, from India, said of her parents and grandmother. “I thought I wanted to create an Airbnb so I could cook for them too,” so she was dismayed to learn that short-term rentals were no longer an option.

Pala wants a place where her family has space to gather. As a sign of gratitude and respect, she wants to cover the cost of her family’s accommodation and has budgeted around $200 (£160) per night for their week-long stay.

“I’m kind of stuck on what to do,” Pala said. “Probably a hotel, but I’ll have to pay like $400 a night and I don’t have the money for that amount.”

Now, saddled with the double stress of finishing school and facing hotel rates she can’t keep up, she finds herself at a crossroads: does she opt for a hotel and have her parents pay for it, or rent something in New York on a short-term basis that she technically doesn’t? Is it legal?

Without the accountability and protection that platforms like Airbnb offered, avoiding scams has become a normal part of searching for a short-term rental. That’s why Pala skipped the Craigslist scan entirely. He’s now thinking about booking an Airbnb in New Jersey, but he fears that the local Path train job might be an inconvenience for his grandmother.

While the regulations were passed with the intention of curbing rents for New Yorkers by returning apartment inventory to the market, they also cut off an often crucial source of income for New York renters and homeowners who were living in their apartments but who listed their places when they were out of town. Some New Yorkers are still finding ways to raise money.

Kathleen, whose last name is withheld for privacy reasons, recently began renting out her East Village apartment on the black rental market. The 29-year-old travels a lot for her work in personal finance and to visit her family in North Carolina. She’s out of town about four months a year, she said, and, of course, she still has to pay her $2,600-a-month rent when she’s not there. To recoup some of that lost money, she began connecting with people through Facebook groups for unregulated stays.

Airbnb opponents demonstrate at New York City Hall in 2015. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

“I really researched a lot of people,” she said, citing concerns about how her space would be treated given that it wouldn’t have the protections that short-term rental platforms offer hosts. She has two upcoming guests (a weekend visitor and another who will stay at her apartment for three weeks during the summer) who pay her $50 a night.

“I’m always a side hustle girl,” she said. “If you can make extra money, why wouldn’t you make extra money? I live in a great location. I love my place and it’s very clean and I thought if someone was new to this town, it would be a nice, nice place to be.”

It’s the kind of place that visitors like Juan José Tejada might want. Tejada, a wellness influencer from Bogotá, Colombia, will visit New York in July for nine days with his best friend. He began his search for a place by scanning hotels, but quickly realized they were too expensive.

“I’m 25 years old. I travel with my best friend. And you know, we don’t have that much of a budget,” he said. On the recommendation of a cousin who lives in the city, Tejada used Facebook to look for a short-term rental. What he found It was quadrupling their budget from between $100 and $200 a night. But that wasn’t the only problem.

“When I was looking for a short-term rental, the payment situation was a little difficult,” Tejada said, “because people who are renting say ‘you have to pay me by bank transfer or by Zelle’ or another service that we don’t have in Colombia. ”.

Tejada and his friend ended up booking at Hi New York City, a hostel on the Upper West Side, which cost them about $55 each per night for a spot in a bunk room with a shared bathroom. Tejada said he had considered an Airbnb with an on-site host, but didn’t find any suitable options. It’s not the apartment he dreamed of coming and going like a local, but it will do.

People are creating their own solutions for short-term stays. On Instagram, there are accounts like Book That Sublet NYC, where over 4,000 followers watch the sublets that are often posted daily and weekly, as well as the endless “book my apartment!” or apartment exchange notices shared on Instagram Stories. And then there are long-standing apartment exchange sites like HomeExchange or HomeLink, which offer another way for visitors to get a foot in the door of an apartment in the city.

Proponents of the new regulations thought that limiting short-term rentals would bring long-term rentals back into the market and perhaps help reduce rents in a notoriously expensive city. About seven months later, those large-scale effects remain to be seen, said Jamie Lane, chief economist at AirDNA.

Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, offered an explanation: He said a modest number of apartments had returned to the rental market after the law was changed, but as mortgage rates remain high and have returned to rise since the beginning of the year, potential buyers cannot buy at the moment, which drives up rents.

Pala, a student at New York University, doesn’t believe regulations are the most effective way to address New York’s housing crisis. “I don’t understand how this regulation makes sense, not in terms of lessening the burden of how many Airbnbs there are, but in terms of how equitable this decision is for the population of New York City, considering that it is a city of immigrants.” she said.

But Busquets, who will be visiting in September, has witnessed firsthand the effects that tourism and short-term rentals can have on a world-famous destination.

“I come from a city where the Airbnb craze is actually driving away locals and people who have lived there for years,” he said. “The owners wanted to keep the people who were there just to rent it short-term because it’s more profitable.”

Busquets said Airbnb made Barcelona uninhabitable and she herself eventually moved to its suburbs. And she added: “It has changed. “It is not the same city as 10 or 15 years ago.”

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