Would You Rather?

Short-term rentals in your building: Yay or nay, New York?

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One of the hottest hot-button issues in New York City real estate right now is the short-term rental (yes, we realize there are a lot of hot-button issues). Technically, they're not allowed for less than 30 days, and the New York State Senate is looking to hit Airbnb hosts with large fines thanks to a new bill that Governor Andrew Cuomo may or may not sign into law.

But what do tried-and-true New Yorkers think? We asked six New Yorkers: Would you rather your building allowed short-term rentals or none at all? Maybe New York should hold a ‘Brexit’ type of referendum for this...

All things considered That’s difficult. I mean, I know a lot of people in my building do it anyway. Would I like to be able to rent out my place short term? Sure. But I don’t want my building to be like a hotel with lots of strangers coming in and out of revolving door. I guess, since we’re renting, yes, I’d want my rental building to allow it. If I was an owner in a co-op or something, then no. That’s kind of disruptive. —Josh, Hamilton Heights (pictured below)

A qualified yes Before this whole thing with Craigslist and Airbnb and all that stuff, we were already renting out our place for the summers. One family, just a few weeks. It helps us, but it helps them afford a vacation as well. We found these people through friends, or they found us, I don’t remember. But nobody cared in my building. It’s a co-op. They are a quiet, respectful family. Now, other people in my building do it year-round because they can’t afford their maintenance. There are these kids who treat the building like their own rental building. I don’t go for that. Summers are different, too. If your neighbors know it’s just for the summer it’s okay. They’re gone, too, probably.  I think we should be allowed to do what we want with our own apartments. And residents are responsible for bringing in the right people. If you don’t, then you should lose the privilege. But don’t punish all of us. —Ned, Washington Heights

Help us help you Yes! Let us! I did it once and it was to help out with the costs of renting in the city! I understand there are a lot of people who have been in this neighborhood and my building forever and they probably don’t like it. But the truth is, there are more and more new people coming in, good people, who just need to make ends meet and just need that little bit of extra help. I’m an actor. I need to be in a job that is flexible and will allow me to pursue gigs and auditions. The rents in the city are crazy, how is anybody supposed to afford that? Especially artists who really contribute to the city vibe and love it here. —Letti, Harlem (pictured above)

No. Just no. I’m in a small building. It’s a rental but we’ve all been there forever and we all know each other. Then these new renters come in and start renting out their place. I called the landlord and complained and they got kicked out. That’s where I stand on that. —Carol, Brooklyn Heights

Home is where no strangers are I don’t want my co-op to turn into a rental building. I don’t want residents to have to struggle with their expenses, either. But no, I don’t like seeing strangers around who act like they own the place. Who don’t follow rules of when to do laundry and smoke out the windows so that it comes into my home. I don’t think people can’t afford their place, they just like to make money. I don’t want transients roaming the building. —Vicky, Upper West Side

Pay the piper What I don’t like about that is that there is already such a lack of affordable housing and now they say that prices are being driven up even more by landlords who won’t even rent to NYC residents and just keep the apartment vacant for Airbnb. That’s no good. Generally, I think people should be allowed to do what they want with what they own. But they should pay taxes to the city, just like hotels. Then maybe the city can invest in more affordable housing for New Yorkers and not tourists. You can’t screw the system and have the little people pay for it. —Len, Astoria

Verdict: 4-2 in favor of short-term rentals… but with a caveat or two.


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