The growing popularity of the website AirBnb has given many homeowners the opportunity to list their properties for temporary rental to third parties. Typically however a real estate attorney will urge caution. In New York, the recent enactment of the Short Term Rental Law makes illegal the rental of a apartment in a multiple dwelling unit to a person unless that person occupies the apartment continuously for 30 days. Regardless, many condominiums and cooperatives in New York do not permit the rental of an apartment to any party, regardless of the time period, unless approval is granted by the managers of the housing organization or an application is presented pursuant to the rules of the housing organization. This means that renting apartments thorugh AirBnb, for periods even beyond 30 days, may not be valid unless the housing organization approves of the measure.
According to real estate attorney Peter Moulinos, who represents a number of cooperatives and condominiums in New York, many housing organizations now scan AirBnb seeking to determine if any apartments in their buildings are listed for rent. As recently reported in Crain’s New York, The Related Cos., one of the largest owners of luxury residential properties in New York, is warning building managers to keep an eye out for tenants using AirBnb and even considered offering $500 rewards to property owners who report illegal rentals. This action was prompted after it was reported in the New York Post that some apartments listed on AirBnb were utilized for sex by prostitutes and as temporary brothels.
Finally, individual unit owners and rents should be aware that, pursuant to New York’s Roommate Law, it is not illegal to rent out a portion of an apartment to another person so long as the owner or primary tenant occupies the unit simultaneously. Consulting a real estate attorney for matters pertaining to rentals through AirBnb, prior to doing so, is generally advisable.