Photo: screenshot of Airbnb
Airbnb, the site where people rent apartments and houses to strangers, is lobbying for its cause in Washington, reports Slate’s Matthew Yglesias. The site has an edge over hotels in that it draws tourists to smaller cities that may or may not lack big chains. But not every city’s OK with this:
“One reason those neighborhoods don’t have hotel beds is that in most cities you can’t just slap up a hotel in a residential neighbourhood or turn an existing residential property into one,” Yglesias says. “Big cities draw a fairly firm distinction between a house and a hotel, but Airbnb’s entire business is based on obscuring that line.”
For consumers, the real question is whether or not using the site is legal. Here are some reasons renting to strangers on Airbnb might not be smart:
-NYC residents can’t rent their apartment out for less than 30 days, according to YM contributor BrickUnderground, though many still do. Fines start at $1,600, reaching up to $5,000 for the first offence, the site says. Check out the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law for details.
-Renters and co-op owners can be evicted if the city catches on, at least in New York.
-According to a hotelier in Rome who spoke up on a Quora thread, “it’s illegal to rent our space without authorization from the city (comune). It’s not easy to obtain this, and in some cases wouldn’t be possible at all.” The same might apply elsewhere abroad.
-neighbours could complain, leading the police to fine you and issue a violation, said BrickUnderground. There are also the issues of bed bugs, safety and noise.
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