Printed from at 08:09 AM, Jan 24 2017
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Short-term leasing & mandatory guest registration


What are some approaches that condos are taking to go after illegal short-term rentals (airbnb, etc.)? or at the very least, to regulate short-term rentals?

By-Laws provide for leases with a minimum of 30 days, although the management company has been enforcing a 6 month minimum and the Board acts as if the minimum is one year when approving Waivers of RoFR.

On a side note, is a Condo in NYC lawfully allowed to demand that residents register their overnight guests, in the name of going after those renting in airbnb, as well as "increased security" in the building?

In my opinion, it poses privacy issues for a resident having to do this, specially if she or he is not even involved with short term leasing. It also raises the question of how much say the homeowner has over their property.

I have heard of co-ops that ask that visitors staying for longer than a week register, but for overnight is kind of ridiculous.


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The great majority of people are not registered when visiting, they are just let in by the front desk.

Now, are they going to ask the person "are you spending the night?" to decide whether to register them?

are they going to stop an owner walking in with someone who they refuse to register?
Is the building entitled to Access Control to the owner's apt. when said owner comes home with someone?

The way I put it is, is it a presumably expensive apt. or am I suddenly back at a college dorm being tightly controlled to prevent people from bringing overnight guests?

All in the name of going after airBnB, no less.

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There is no disputing of there being access control when a guest arrives by themselves, for example to pick up keys and enter to stay.

I'm talking about the situation where the tenant or owner arrives with the guest, etc. Or the guest gets called up by the tenant.

I think that it is easy for an employee to confuse all of the above circumstances, specially when the Board plainly speaks about overnight guest registration.

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I lived in a rental building with a guest log and must say it was really annoying. It appeared to be a tool to harass the rent controlled ones, but they used it with everyone.

I don't understand what keeping a log would accomplish. And the notion of needing to register overnight guests is offensive and a gross invasion on someone's privacy rights.

And i though coops were invasive....

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way to beat it to death.

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If you don't like the rules, don't live there....
This is a free country after all.

"I don't understand what keeping a log would accomplish."

TOP already said. Rooting out people illegally hoteling. I live in a rental building, and even here it would be awkward to have new random strangers in the unit every week. I'm sure a condo or coop would care even more.

How does that root out anything? I often let people stay at my place if I am gone away. My friends need someone to babysit their cat. What do you do with a list of names? If people are doing AIrbnb, would the rational thing not be to go on Airbnb and take screen shots?

BTW - didn't NYC make short-term rentals like this illegal a year ago or something?

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The first time I ever experienced guest sign-in at a building's concierge desk was in Battery Park City, in one of the first buildings shortly after it opened. It was populated largely by Californians who were terrified of New York, had a cloister mentality, and loved to say that their neighborhood is "like not living in New York City". Telling.

I felt like a janitor signing in.

I would never live in a building that did that to its residents' guests. Baby with the bathwater. To the extent short-term rentals are a problem, deal with the specific apartment that's causing the problem.

Whether a catch-all approach is done out of laziness, or for the sense of total control by control freaks, or because of a continued cloister mentality (in a hyper-low-crime environment, usually) I don't know. But it's undignified in the extreme.

And FYI, I've never sublet my apartment out, long-term, middle-term or short-term.

"How does that root out anything? "

Do you not know anyone who makes money off of air b n b? Guess not. My friend in LA who does has 2-3 new "roomates" every month. This is the sort of thing a building would notice if every new AirBNB guest had to sign in.

Even if the building didn't notice it immediately, it is evidence that can be used at the eventual case.

Even more interesting is if the guest log has a check box for "paid short term guest" next to entries. Air BNB users are generally not trying to be slick. They paid for their room. They will honestly check it off.

A stupid list proves nothing in itself and as Alan says is a lazy catchall, that actually catches nothing. Buildings that go after people have used PIs and more obviously the advertised units.

What about the scenario where people do the house swap thing?

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what would you put up?

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If there is ever a book "StreetEasy Dialogues", you guys will be the main characters. And Alan of course.

"A stupid list proves nothing in itself and as Alan says is a lazy catchall, that actually catches nothing. Buildings that go after people have used PIs and more obviously the advertised units."

The fact that the building is listed on AirBNB is kind of all the proof you need. A quick scan of the site just now shows 9600 listings in MANHATTAN. Manhattan. Not NYC. Now how difficult would it be to find your neighbor on the site listing their unit? Not very. It shows you the listings ON A MAP and shows pictures. You can easily bust a neighbor.

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That story's gone. Apparently removing it was part of the settlement when Sophie sued the Post for publishing her copyrighted(!) LinkedIn photo. But Sophie's old news, at least until something happens with her malpractice suit against her lawyer.

The Cipriani guy does demonstrate the point, though. Convicted on federal charges he conspired to export stolen cars to Nigeria, lots of RE lawsuits from the previous bubble, and his AirBnB loss. He did win against NYC on a false-arrest charge, getting a big $15,000 in the settlement.

This is the AirBnB-orgy apartment the Post calls "luxe":

The comedian has four separate going on at once. One as defendant for defamation and who knows what else, and three as plaintiff. #1 the medical-malpractice case, #2 against whoever edited the Wikipedia page about him, #3 against the condo board, the doorman, and the condo owners. Any press is good press....

His AirBnB apartment was rent stabilized. Yet another instance of a government program being taken advantage of by people for whom it is not intended.

And you have to admire the height of his stress threshold. Four cases, five sets of lawyers, since one set bailed on him.

FYI last post referenced the Cipriani guy. How many cases does he have?

Either way, a lot of lawyers.
Wish some of these lawyers would work to improve our criminal justice system and/or represent the indigent in everyday civil matters rather than being involved in long-shot or frivolous civil cases.

I lost count of the Cipriani guy's cases. Lots, NYS and federal.

NYS does have a 50-hour pro-bono requirement for admittance to the bar. Then your biannual fees go to indigent legal services.

A lot of lawyers do pro-bono work, but there's no requirement. A big firm's website will list what they're involved in.

If you're a lawyer at a storefront in Ridgewood, reduced to representing notoriety-seeking comedians, pro-bono might not be high on your due-to-society list.

The Cipriani guy's apartment being RS is a great example of the magic of 421-a.

The rental unit there at 450 W 42nd gets a 20-year tax abatement. This year Related is paying $273,000 rather than $5,500,000. In return, the apartments have to be rent-stabilized. What's great for Related is, the base rents
started so high, so they get the benefit of no taxes while not taking a hit on income. The tenants do get the benefit of guaranteed lease renewals, so it's not entirely one-sided.

CIpriani guy, Peter Cooper Village lady, all unfairly benefitting at cost to other taxpayers.

These are cases where someone takes advantage of the middle class , due to shortsighted policies

Then there're lots of small-time developers out in Brooklyn who built would-be condos during the last boom, got 421a, got caught in the bust and rented them out instead, but neglected to tell tenants they were RS:


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