Renting A Rulebreaking Airbnb Could Leave You Without A Place To Sleep

Image courtesy of EFFIE YANG

While Airbnb and New York City continue to battle it out over new restrictions that would penalize hosts with hefty fines for subletting whole apartments for less than 30 days, a California couple says the law — which isn’t currently being enforced — led to a costly and frustrating scenario while visiting the Big Apple. 

The New York Post reports that the couple, who were in town for 10 days visiting their daughter, were kicked out of their Airbnb rental after neighbors took issue with the technically illegal stay.

Issues began for the couple when they arrived at the $170/night Chelsea apartment Nov. 15 and another tenant of the building began asking questions.

The fellow tenant then threatened to call the police, noting that he “would knock on the door all night long and let other tenants know you are here illegally if you don’t leave now.”

While the threats didn’t bother the couple, they received an email from the Airbnb host the next day, asking them to leave immediately.

The host said he had sent the couple an email telling them to be discreet about the stay in light of the latest New York regulations.

“I never got an email like that. If I did, I would have canceled the reservation,” the man recalls.

The renters say Airbnb offered to refund about $1,200 of their stay, which cost $170 per night, plus a $45 cleaning fee and a $166 Airbnb service charge.

The company also offered to facilitate another Airbnb to rent or to find them a hotel. The couple chose the hotel.

“We didn’t want to risk being kicked out of an Airbnb every night,” the California man said.

But finding new digs didn’t clear up the issues. Instead, the couple found that the chosen hotel was charging $809/night.

“The clerk told me that if a hotel has under five [vacant] rooms, they can charge whatever they want for the first night,” the man says. “I was ready to turn around and go right back to California.”

Instead, they chose to stay after the hotel dropped the rate to $249/day the following day.

To make matters worse, the couple says they are still waiting for their Airbnb reimbursement.

“Our dealings with Airbnb were awful,” the man said. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in the world.”

The couple’s story comes just days after New York state was dismissed from a vacation rental lawsuit, leaving NYC and Airbnb to settle their disagreement alone.

In a letter also filed in the court docket, one of the city’s representatives told the federal judge that the two remaining parties in that case are expected to come to an agreement early in December.

Airbnb horror story is cautionary tale for tourists [New York Post]