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Subject: NYC Condo and AirBnb
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GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2960


06/11/2019 2:07 PM  
This is a somewhat dodgy "news" site (ZeroHedge) but there's an article there today that's pretty interesting.

A new condo building opened in 2007 and the president, according to many unit owners, started an illegal hotel operation in the building. He offered his services to owners who wanted to rent out their units. Average monthly rental: $5,000. He placed the properties with a company of his which specialized in managing rentals for people. That company - which he owned - turned around and placed the units with a travel agency that rented them out through AirBnb. All of this is illegal in NYC and the city is currently conducting an investigation.

A group of owners wanted this illegal hotel operation shut down and they followed transient "guests" around, took notes and noted unit numbers, dates and times, witnessed employees of the travel agency called "greeters" let renters in through the side or back entrance. The travel company even set up its own concierge service in the building.

The condo board came down hard - on the owners complaining about the illegal rentals! They fined owners who were “intimidating or menacing individuals in the building". One owner was fined $1,500 for "inciting violence". The president, who has been the president since 2007, had his lawyer threaten a $25 million lawsuit for defamation.

The original story came from the Washington Post, which I can't see because of their paywall. The situation has sparked a criminal investigation and sounds like a juicy tale, though, complete with graft and corruption on the part of the board and the president of the condo association.

Here's another story from a NY newpaper about the condo's 2016 dispute with the builder.

"The board is headed by real estate broker Daniel Neiditch who owns several units in the building and who has made headlines by renting units to celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Brendan Fraser and Jeff Goldblum."

Luxury all the way. Same place. Neiditch is the guy who allegedly was the mastermind of the AirBnb scheme and it was his lawyer who threatened the $25 million defamation lawsuit.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3595


06/11/2019 2:18 PM  
Only in New York City.

Been there, Done that
EllieR1


Posts:2


06/11/2019 4:32 PM  
This is pretty common. The only thing mildly surprising about this is how obvious he was - didn't even try to hide it.

Short term rentals in NYC need to be at least 30 days but no one enforces it. Even rental buildings generally look the other way. There's too much money to be made.

A one bedroom in my building can be found on Airbnb for between 250-300 per night. Cheaper than even the cheapest hotel room in an iffy neighborhood. Include a couple of services like a light lunch the day of arrival (think glorified turkey sandwiches and a cheap bottle of wine) and a 1 bedroom can easily get you 350.

I keep telling my husband, if we ever move to the house full time, the hell I'm giving up the apartment- it's going on airbnb pronto.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2960


06/11/2019 5:19 PM  
I also found it strange that a board could fine someone for harrassment, intimidation, inciting violence, and menacing. Aren't all those things criminal? What sort of condo declaration or CC&Rs purport to give the assocation the authority to enforce criminal violations? I mean, we hear often how an association is not law enforcement and if criminal activity is witnessed it's best to call the police and let them handle it. It just seems weird that an association would attempt to enforce criminal violations with fines.
TimM11


Posts:258


06/13/2019 7:09 AM  
I read about a condo being built in my area that is explicitly intended by the developer to be used for AirBNB/short term rentals (the city it will be in allows them, but regulates them). But I wonder what will happen if a majority of the condo residents in the future decide to ban them -- it seems like it could be setting things up for a big fight.

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