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Legal holiday rentals???

London, United...
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Legal holiday rentals???

I want to book an apartment for our visit in December but am well aware of the legalities of it. However I came across this comment on another search and am wondering if any of you guys can verify it to be true? : "These are friends of mine who own a brownstone in Harlem and rent out 2 renovated apartments--a 1 bedroom and a 3-bedroom-- with a minimum of 4 nights. They live in the building.

Most of their guests are European but I thought I'd mention it here:"

flipkey.com/manhattan-vacation-rentals/…

flipkey.com/new-york-city-condo-rentals/…

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Dallas, Texas...
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1. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

That's the big problem. It's difficult verify information.

One thing you can do is get the exact street address, go to the NYC Department of Buildings site www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/home/home.shtml. Enter the address of the property, then look for complaints, etc. Also look at the Certificate of Occupancy. Very legalese, but be on the lookout for anything to indicate that it's a multi family dwelling with multiple apartments.

Also simply googling the exact street address can tell you something. Often doing this for vacation rentals reveals that it's actually a condo building (so almost certainly against condo regulations), or is a building with regular rentable apartments.

It's tough because there are places that would be legal, but there are so many scams and illegal deals out there.

It is reassuring that they allow payment through TripAdvisor/FlipKey vs having you pay directly.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

Scams abound. No matter where you are traveling. If you are going through airbnb or flipkey you will have some assurances, as you are not paying the owners directly. However this will be little comfort if you are on the ground and don't have a place to stay. Having said this, the advice from Christnp2 is solid. Most scammers are out for a quick buck, once it gets more complicated for them it's not likely that you have a scam on your hands. The likelihood of a scam drops. Be sure to get mobile numbers etc. and stay in contact with them.

Diane

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Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

That obviously doesnt take into account the legality issues

why take the risk?

Newcastle, Australia
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4. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

Given the way airbnb works it is unlikely you would be scammed. After all the host doesn't get paid until 24 hours after you have checked in.

If you can be sure of the legality of the rental it seems ok to me.

Despite what some posters say there are legal rentals. You just may have to do extra homework unlike in most other cities. At the end of the day it comes down to your call I suppose.

Brooklyn, NY
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5. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

Do you have the address? I can look it up.

London, United...
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6. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

Thanks for all the advice. BrooklynBridge, I have just emailed the 'owners' for the address so will keep you all posted.

Hove, United Kingdom
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7. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

I googled the information provided by the OP and matched it and the photo's to 125 West 126th Street, there's not a great deal of information but according to the DOB website this is a c1 multi family dwelling, walk up apartment building. Maybe one of the experts here could confirm what this actually means in terms of legality.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

One more note. On the legalities of it all. First, I am not here to suggest that anyone partake in illegal activities. Having said this, there is a law here that private sublets under 29 days are illegal. This law was mostly in response to the fact that 30,000 New Yorkers have signed up with airbnb to rent out their apartments. Legislators say that the bill was to prevent landlords from turning their apartment buildings into illegal hotels.

Part of the issue here is enforcement. Who is enforcing the law and how is it being enforced. It is clear that neither the NYPD or the DOB is monitoring these website and issuing summons. Instead they are waiting for a neighbor to file a complaint. If that happens it will happen long after you are gone. Also they are not even issuing the summons to the person who has the lease but the landlord! They are certainly not issuing it to tourists and certainly not knocking on doors and telling tourists that they have to vacate the premises.

So I'm not so sure what the legal risks really are for the user. The potential of a scam? prolly a little bit higher. There's always a risk when you travel. Heck, I showed up at a Hilton with a reservation made months in advance after a midnight flight only to find that they were overbooked! The upshot is that they took it upon themselves to get me another room in another hotel. Still wasn't good as it wasn't until 2 am that I got into a bed.

Brooklyn, NY
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9. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

Your logic isn't. If a complaint is filed in response to the rentee three people before you, and the apartment is padlocked just before or during your trip, you're the one out of luck. While the issue is indeed with the "landlord" and not the tourist, since the original tenant is generally threatened with eviction unless the renting stops, it's the tourist who won't have a place to stay when the place is shut down. Also, the state has recently subpoenaed AirBnB's records, so we can't assume that all closures are going to be due solely to complaints.

And, finally, even if you never have a problem yourself, there's the issue of the residents and neighbors whose protections you are destroying by participating in this lawbreaking.

Bottom line: don't participate in illegal rentals.

San Diego...
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10. Re: Legal holiday rentals???

And there have been posts where people were told to tell the doorman and neighbors that they are 'visiting family' when asked. That means sooner or later a neighbor or doorman is going to notice the comings and goings. I live in a bldg where we aren't allowed to rent out our condos for less than One Year! So breaking the rules of a bldg will greatly matter! And may likely be dealt with by the Building Management / Homeowners Association quicker than being reported to the City.

So someone having a reservation after that happens will show up and have no place to stay.

And, as you said in your hotel story, the hotel found you a place to stay. Who is going to find someone a place to stay in the rental circumstance?