Knock Knock! Airbnb Police—Come Out With Your Lease Up!

The mega-million dollar home sharing company seems to have spawned an entirely new industry: policing Airbnb apartment rentals

By Team Agorafy October 19, 2016

That start up on steroids known as Airbnb just can’t seem to stay out of the news lately. Whether it’s their new start up Samara, or celebs like Ashton Kutcher coming out to cajole the legislature, the mega-million dollar home sharing company seems to have spawned an entirely new industry: policing Airbnb apartment rentals.

Companies seemed to have popped up over-night to help real estate management companies and landlords track individual lease holders who are renting their spaces illegally for short term profits.

Related: Hendrix, Jonas Or Elizabeth Taylor? Rent Your Next Vacation Home From The Stars

Lots of people break these seemingly un-harmful laws, much like driving in the carpool lane with your dog in the shot-gun position wearing a wig (lots of people do that, right?). People who rent out their apartments for short periods of time try to post their spaces under the radar by not putting up photos of the building’s entrance, or telling renters to say they’re their second cousin twice removed who married a guy and moved to Australia. Hiding listings from searches by landlords seems to be common-place for fear of retribution.

Now it seems where there’s a website listing real estate, there’s a website to police illegal listings. Cue start-ups like S.T.R. Monitor who alert property owners if a listing pops up as their software scrolls multiple short-term rental sites. Nicolas Lund-Larsen, CEO of S.T.R Monitor shares that upon their expansion into New York City they’ve detected, “…massive issues in the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown East, East Village and also a lot in Brooklyn.”

The real reason for these kinds of companies isn’t to stop Joe and Jane Doe from making a few extra bucks, but rather to put the kibosh on landlords kicking out rent controlled tenants to make space for the massive short-term rental turn over. It’s also to enforce Airbnb’s rules and to not allow tenants to run what would essentially be their own private youth-hostel.

NYC has been monitored by start up SubAlert for the past couple years. They are based out of where the majority of the volume of for short term rentals have been in hipster haven, Williamsburg. David Shapiro, representative for SubAlert notes,”… a little more than 500 listings (were found) within the hundreds of buildings we work with.”

But why do landlords care about whether or not tenants are short or long term if the rent gets paid regardless of who’s in the apartment? With so many different guests coming in and out of a building, short term guests at an increased volume could also raise the possibility of property wear and tear as well as the safety of the other residents.

Essentially if you want to become a ‘host’ on various short-term rental sites, know the laws of the city in which you’re hosting. In New York City, terms of less than 30 days have strict requirements, mostly having to do with the host being on the premises at the time of rental and whether or not your apartment is rent stabilized. Make sure you know your rights as a host so you don’t get locked up in Airbnb ‘virtual jail’. Cause let’s face it, the whole system runs more smoothly when everyone is above board. This allows Joe and Jane Doe to save some dough toward their ever sky-rocketing Big Apple rent.

Team Agorafy



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