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Airbnb Brooklyn, NYC safety claim

Feb 3, 2017
Strangely enough, every part of your description sounds exactly like the Airbnb host tenant in my Brooklyn building who has caused so many disturbances for us - I had to make an account to reply. I have been trying to do something about the unit for over a year, but LL says his hands are tied without really specific safety issues since the tenant stays in the apartment at the same time as his rentals; it's not explicitly against the terms of the lease. As far as I know he will just continue renewing the lease despite the constant Airbnb rentals, noise, probably drug use, occasional police visits, etc...

Can I PM you to confirm the street name of the rental? (Seems I might be restricted from doing so as a new member, as I'm getting an error message. Also want to check that is OK per this forum's rules). If so, I would greatly appreciate hearing any other details that might help, or if you push the matter with Airbnb/the city regarding the rental's legality and receive a response. Regardless, I'm sorry you had this terrible experience and hope some of the advice in previous replies is helpful.
If the tenant's lease doesn't prohibit such room rentals (with host in apartment at the time), the landlord likely can't do anything about it. Which is a shame.
Feb 3, 2017
But if it is against NYC laws about short term rentals NYC can.
And, that is where this particular situation of renting a room in someone's apartment when the host is staying in it as well gets tricky; that's the provision many people quote as being allowed under the law but is, most often, not in compliance with one's lease or condo/co-op rules.

If this person's lease doesn't prohibit this sort of renting, then it may well be one of some where it does not violate that provision of the law.

It's all trickier than mud.
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Jan 16, 2020
Hi there
Even with the owner there, it likely is an illegal rental as all people who either own or rent an apartment/co-op/condo have rules that prohibit them doing this regardless of whether the NYS law allows it or not.

You can enter the address into the Department of Buildings website to learn of its status (more than 4 units, stand alone home (very very rare), etc.) It's not really easy to discern what all the language means when doing this search but it is something you might consider checking -

If you do want to check, you can search the property at http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/bispi00.jsp#property - choose the section "search by property" - when it comes up, click on the Certificate of Occupancy which will describe type of building.

I know this not something many will not want to do but I just wanted to provide the information in case you want the option of checking the legality of it.

As to receiving back your monies, I have my doubts but IF the rental is illegal and you let airbnb know that, it MAY (certainly no guarantee) provide you back some refund.

Airbnb has been locked in a very heated, contentious battle here in NYC for years and reports to them about illegal listings on their website and subsequent rentals have produced some situations where they have allowed cancelations or refunds upon being provided evidence the listing is illegal - they then are supposed to remove that listing and the host can be fined.

These stories continue to upset me as we have had so many disturbing such situations with these rentals.

In the future, I would suggest you check the vacation rental laws of any city in which you consider renting such a place. Cities worldwide have either passed laws restricting such rentals or are working to do so.
Hi there,
Again thank you all for your help!
In response to searching the address, what is it exactly to be looking for to understand the legality of the property for airbnb?

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
In NYC most rentals are illegal. Seattle has also banned most short term rentals. You should do a search in any city that you are considering traveling to and search their ordinances on short term rentals. Did you post a review to warn others?

You should report it to the NYC Housing Authority and let them decide if it is legal or not. You can call this number to the State hotline. The hotline number is 646-979-4117 or file a complaint online.