NYPD Helps after Airbnb host scams me

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,150
14,741
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#21
Thanks for your input about Airbnbs and vacation rentals. It’s interesting you bring up safety features because the Airbnb I stayed at (prior to being scammed by the 2nd Airbnb host), didn’t have a fire escape ladder (older building) or any known safety features. I stayed on the second floor and I wondered how I’d get out in case of a fire.
And that is the difference in a vacation rental vs a hotel. There are no safety standards that Airbnb or the other rental companies are required to allow you to stay there. You truly do not know what you are getting.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,834
5,038
113
48
#22
Thanks for your input about Airbnbs and vacation rentals. It’s interesting you bring up safety features because the Airbnb I stayed at (prior to being scammed by the 2nd Airbnb host), didn’t have a fire escape ladder (older building) or any known safety features. I stayed on the second floor and I wondered how I’d get out in case of a fire.
FYI -- an older small building may not be required to have fire escapes --
Law about fire escapes changed in 1968 -- brownstones were not required to have them, all sorts of building codes about stairs, occupancy, egress etc. It is the older tenement style buildings that were required to have them up to 1968.

There is a possibility that the apartment was an illegal conversion -- but that usually means that there would not be plumbing etc because that would take major construction to add plumbing, electrical meters, etc, all things that would tip someone off to an illegal conversion and the fire department would be all over that.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,689
7,497
113
San Francisco
#23
I may be naive, but how can these "clearing houses" like VRBO and Abb abandon all responsibility for their hosts and renters? It's never made any sense to me. Shouldn't there be some legislation that requires someone to be responsible when there are problems? And wouldn't that have to be the place that advertised, facilitated the booking, accepted the renter's money, acted as an entity "in charge"? I just don't get it.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,834
5,038
113
48
#25
I may be naive, but how can these "clearing houses" like VRBO and Abb abandon all responsibility for their hosts and renters? It's never made any sense to me. Shouldn't there be some legislation that requires someone to be responsible when there are problems? And wouldn't that have to be the place that advertised, facilitated the booking, accepted the renter's money, acted as an entity "in charge"? I just don't get it.
You have to think about these services as advanced classified ads -- there is no vetting -- they are just middlemen. Someone who takes their vacation rental seriously of course will do all they can to make sure it is legal and a pleasant stay -- but others .... and of course one has to remember that the laws were slow to catch up with the changes in the "sharing" economy.

There were always people subletting out their NYC apartments short term when they went away, or needed cash -- I remember it from when I moved here and was in school-- but the volume was so much lower as it was word of mouth, friend of a friend, or at best a classified ad. The internet has made it very easy to reach millions of people --- and that has made it easier for the millions of scammers. One can make a google voice telephone number with a NYC prefix -- and scam from abroad, outside the reach of the law -- and take the money and run. Technology has made it a lot easier to scam people.
 
Feb 3, 2017
122
160
43
45
#26
I suspect the number of listings for NYC vacation rentals on airbnb may drop given airbnb is now compelled (via subpoena) to provide information on thousands of hosts that have listings on their website. I am guessing many, if not most, will not want that information shared (who knows how many are paying taxes on that additional income?) - and will remove their apartments. After this period is over, some may re-list - who knows.

It has been a bit like the wild west with sites like airbnb, services like Uber, etc - they seemingly just started and took off like wild fire and cities have been trying to sort out the issues that developed since they appeared on the scene.

If anyone ever reads airbnb's terms and conditions, your head may well explode in its minutia and heavy handedness - and, it's clear language absolving it of any meaningful responsibility for wrongdoing by hosts.
 
Feb 3, 2017
122
160
43
45
#28
Time will tell obviously - airbnb has spent a fortune here to retain their footing and I doubt that will change now; this is a very lucrative market for them - all their superficial rhetoric about the "sharing economy" is all PR - they want to go public sooner than later - anyway, we shall see what they do but as a company, I don't trust one thing they say or do.

Even if they find a way to postpone or dilute the city's subpoena's scope - some hosts may remove themselves out of fear/concern of being scrutinized by the city -

Many dropped off when we imposed significant fines ($1000-$7500) just for posting a listing on these websites by a host - https://www1.nyc.gov/site/specialenforcement/enforcement/illegal-short-term-rentals.page -

Lehane twists himself into knots trying to explain their position (not just about NY but elsewhere) - https://www.housingwire.com/article...ht-against-airbnb-demands-listing-information

As long as people are willing to break the law and take the risk and tourists are willing to to stay in such rentals even when they know the law, I presume it will be part of our landscape for the future -

People want to make extra money, others want a cheap vacation. I doubt that is going to change any time soon.
 
Feb 28, 2019
9
10
3
42
#29
It’s illegal in NYC period to rent using Airbnb less than 30 days. Airbnb knows this but continues to allow these listings. Yes Airbnb is responsible but they are that arrogant that they just flaunt it and don’t stop and even NYC has been unable to stop it in court.
Actually...its illegal for New Yorkers who live in buildings with three or more residential units to rent their apartments out for less than 30 days, unless the owner or leaseholder is present during the stay.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,689
7,497
113
San Francisco
#30
Remember that you read it here first: THE INTERNET IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. It is a wonderful tool for research and planning; it's also swarming with bad guys. Assume you're going to be cheated: approach cautiously, use common sense, get advice, read it all twice, know that there is little support if issues arise. I absolutely love the internet and all the billions of bits of information that are available right in my office; we world-wanderers are lucky to live in such travel-friendly times ... except for the airlines of course.
 
Likes: Neil Maley