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One Jersey City landlord is trying to woo tenants by letting them rent their apartments on Airbnb

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Jersey City has much to offer New Yorkers in search of a cheaper (and chiller) life: A quick commute to downtown Manhattan, more spacious apartments than what you might find city-side, and, according to Eater, a booming restaurant scene. And now, per the Wall Street Journal, one JC landlord is attempting to attract renters with another perk: The ability to rent out their apartments on Airbnb. 

Naturally, there's a catch. The Jersey City Urby rental complex offering this perk gets 5 to 15 percent of the earnings from these short-term rentals, and renters are allowed to take in Airbnb-ers only 30 days a year. 

Still, for residents who go out of town from time to time and want to earn a little extra income while doing so, this arrangement may be easier than what they'd encounter in NYC. Here, the city's Multiple Dwelling Law makes it illegal to rent your apartment on Airbnb for any amount of time less than 30 days, or risk facing fines of up to $7,500. (Proponents of the policy argue that services like Airbnb remove rentals from a market that's already strapped for housing--and compete with the hotel business.) 

The Jersey City Urby arrangement represents the first step in Airbnb's new Friendly Buildings Program, which attempts to foster compromise between enterprising tenants and the landlords who may not be so thrilled about short-term renters coming and going from their buildings. Under the program, provided that landlords and renters agree, a clause is added to leases stipulating the terms of the Airbnb arrangement, and giving landlords their cut. 

David Barry, president of the developer behind Urby, tells the WSJ that part of the appeal in the Jersey City property is that the Airbnb renters can not only come and go as they please (unlike in NYC, where they may be compelled to sneak past disapproving landlords or, of course, the watchful eye of the law) but also make use of the complex's many amenities, which sound downright hotel-like: heated pool and outdoor deck, a gym, a cafe, and more. 

But whether it's worth it for renters to forfeit a portion of their Airbnb earnings to their landlords, for the sake of doing business above-board, isn't totally clear. While it's definitely a gamble to host on Airbnb in New York, Crain's reports that relatively few New Yorkers--139, to be exact--have been hit with penalties, and many more seem willing to take the risk, considering that there are over 23,000 possibly-illegal NYC listings currently up on the site. 

And besides that, NJ renters may soon find themselves obliged to take their chances, too. As Brick previously reported, legislation is currently making its way through the state government that would allow municipalities and property owners enact rules like the ones in NYC, preventing renters from taking in Airbnb-ers for less than a month at a stretch. And another bill proposes that Airbnb rentals be taxed similarly to hotels, according to NJ.com. On either side of the Hudson, it seems, an Airbnb side hustle can come with its uncertainties--and expenses.

 

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