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Residents Use Airbnb to Rip Off LIC; Affordable Housing For $500 Night

 

Nov. 17, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Hunters Point South development, which tax-subsidized residents started moving into in May, is already being gamed for profit by renters using Airbnb.

Lottery recipients who received luxury Manhattan-view waterfront apartments, with the help of taxpayer subsidies, are now renting them out for as much as $500 a night.

A unit in one of the two Hunters Point South affordable buildings was highly sought after last year. More than 92,700 people applied to snag one of the 925 units that were on offer. The chance to win was 1 in 100.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” Frank Monterisi, the senior vice president of the Related Companies that developed the building, said at a meeting last year.

The development contains amenities such as an outdoor roof deck, rooftop garden, a fitness center and a children’s playroom.

Three residents were found to be cashing in on their affordable apartment deal on the controversial Airbnb site earlier this week.

One tenant, who went by the name Nathalye, advertized her two-bedroom apartment for $500 per night, with the headline “Luxury Apartment with great Manhattan views.” With a cleaning and service fee, a five-night stay comes to $2,809.

The apartment is located at 1-55 Borden Ave. and can sleep up to six guests, according to the ad. The Venezuelan native, who moved to the U.S. three years ago, has two reviews, according to her profile.

Nathalye took down her listing after she was contacted by the LICPost. She did not respond to requests for comment sent via Facebook.

Meanwhile another resident, who used the name W, is renting out a studio for $190 per night. The ad reads: “waterfront Studio, 1 stop Grand Cen,”

The ad goes on to say, “The studio is in a brand new building right across the street from the waterfront.”

When that person was contacted via Airbnb, there was no response. The listing is still up.

Meanwhile another apartment was listed this week as “New Luxury Affordable housing with NYC views.” It was going for $150 per night and is located at 1-50 50th Ave.

The rent for a studio apartment for moderate income earners in the development ranges from $1,561-$1997, a one bedroom from $1,965-2,509, and a two-bedroom $2,366-$3,300. For low-income earners the rent is even less.

Tenants in affordable housing complexes such as Hunters Point South who use Airbnb are putting themselves at risk of being thrown out, according to Related.

“Related is committed to ensuring that all our residential units comply with the rent-stabilization laws,” a spokeswoman for the company said. She said the tenants are violating these laws.

Related evicted a tenant in an affordable housing complex in Manhattan earlier this year who was allegedly profiting by it through Airbnb.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that the use of Airbnb is not only a violation of the rules but also of the spirit of affordable housing.

“For someone to be so lucky to live in one of those buildings to do this is outrageous,” Van Bramer said. He said Related should investigate and take action.

Pat O’Brien, the chairman of Community Board 2, echoed Van Bramer.

“Anyone who is subverting the affordable housing process for personal gain should be thrown out,” he said. “I’m sure we can find one of the other 90,000 people who applied to fill their spot.”

Jackie Strawbridge contributed reporting to this story.

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29 Comments

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portland airbnb

Hi! Thank you for so many useful tips! When traveling I often book apartments with Airbnb, and recommend it to all travelers. Actually, I even created a website – https://air-coupons.com/, with a detailed service description and working promo codes. On my website you can find translated information about the service in all languages of the world (I found translators for lots of them and keep working on it). Please dont delete my comment, let people around the world get to know about Airbnb!

Reply
N

These buildings are MIXED affordable and and market rate units. How do you know which are the ones posted on Airbnb?

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Curlicue58

I am so sick of all these people getting over on the system and me having to pay incredible taxes while I watch them and their benefit cards shopping in the supermarket and buying $10 jars of Nutella,I didn’t know that was a necessity. Waterfront housing?really? In luxury buildings? Why don’t they crackdown on all these people living in low income housing for years when the person who really needs it can’t get one. I haven’t seen this many people living and begging on the street since the 80’s. And DeBlasio wants more of this. The government checks my income every year why does know one check theirs?

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Mo

First, there are bed bugs at The Plaza & Helmsley Hotels. Second, i live in a building with ppl renting their apartments to airbnb. Guests are often loud & obnoxiously drunk and come back to the apt in the wee hours of the morning fighting, yelling & screaming. we have had drug parties where the smell of K2 was so bad it sent an elderly resident and a party goer to the hospital. Then there was the guests who set up a temporary meth lab that nearly blew up themeselves. Luckily they burned themselves which required fire dept & smbulance. The authorities became involved because firefighters were forced to evacuate building because of chemical gasses & potential for explosion. They caused enough damage to the apt that the tennant lost their lease and was arrested. I bet you wont see tgst on the airbnb website.

Here’s what i wish for you: six glorious months of airbnb neighbors! 🙂

Reply
ExpertOnThisTopic

Big developers and landlords circumvent the system all the time. They are much bigger opportunists and way more problematic for communities than these small time sub-landlords. What hypocrites to go after such small time renters / sublandlords / sublessors. Our politicians need to protect our communities from overdevelopment and high rents. Evicting such AirBnB owners allow the landlords to increase the rent, which is in effect allowing them to make more money and circumvent what they ought to be doing: maintaining affordable housing. They know damn well tax subsidies last longer than their “affordable rents”. The system is rigged to benefit them in the long run – not the lessee/renter on low or fixed income. Also, unless these lessees are constantly subletting their apartments on AirBnB, I’m pretty sure they’ve done nothing wrong.

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anono

NOTHING WRONG! How about bringing strangers off into the building! Not to mention bedbugs and roaches!! There is something very WRONG with someone renting out an apartment as if it were hotel! I would not stand for living next door to that

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Anonymous visitor

If you are already renting in a building with more than 6 units, then you most likely have already had AirBnB guests stay in your building. Air BnB owners and guests are omnipresent. Renting to strangers when you leave town on vacation or sabbatical is nothing new… it’s a right (subletting) that exists in most leases. The debate / argument lies in whether lessees are abusing this lease provision for business (short term profiting) vs the occasional sublet. Also, and I’m surprised I even need to point this out, anyone paying $500/night on AirBnB is highly unlikely to be transporting bed bugs or roaches to host apartments – not mention causing other problems.

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anono

Both Where’sMy LavenderPlant? and Anonymous visitor are quite the fools if they believe that getting bedbugs has anything to do with how much you can pay a night for a room! Money and how much of it someone has does not immune them from picking up bedbugs on a plane, train, taxi, movie van, etc! The finest stores and hotels in the city have them. For you pompous know it alls………..The reason I mentioned bedbugs and roaches is the more people coming in and out of apartments, the greater the chance they can be brought into a building. Same with frequent move-in and move-outs. I am a landlord who unfortunately has to deal with the pests brought in by tenants. I have a clean bug free building and every time we have a complaint about bedbugs or roaches the person either just moved in (probably from the moving van) or just returned from a trip (received it from a fancy hotel) Nonetheless, we have to pay to exterminate it!
BTW $500 night is not a lot of money for 10 people to share per night!

Anonymous visitor

If you are already renting in a building with more than 6 units, then you most likely have already had AirBnB guests stay in your building. Air BnB owners and guests are omnipresent. Renting to strangers when you leave town on vacation or sabbatical is nothing new… it’s a right (subletting) that exists in most leases. The debate / argument lies in whether lessees are abusing this lease provision for business (short term profiting) vs the occasional sublet. Also, and I’m surprised I even need to point this out, anyone paying $500/night on AirBnB is highly unlikely to be transporting bed bugs to host apartments – not mention causing other problems.

Reply
Sean

@Matt Anyplace containing 111 in the first 3 positions of the zip code is a LIC zipcode making Sunnyside a Long Island City neighborhood.

Reply
LIC_Dude

It’s just bc LIC Post and Sunnyside Post are owned by the same people.

Let’s look into that too while we’re at it. Media ownership rules.

Reply
Joe at the Berkley

Yes LIC_Dude LIC Post, Astoria Post, Jackson Heights Post and Sunnyside Post are all part of Queens Post. Each posts news, information and events exclusive to those individual neighborhoods as well as some stories that cover more than one community. You caught them. Good work..:)

Reply
Sean

The new American Business model. We already substidize corporations like Walmart, McDonalds, Staples,Dominos, Pizza Hut and Sports Authority with programs like section 8 housing, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid etc.. So corporations don’t have to pay a fair living wage and get to keep greater proportions of the profit going to the top. So why is anyone really surprised?

Reply
Native

I don’t condone this behavior. But, please! Go after a bigger target, would ya? This is small potatoes when compared to the financial crimes perpetrated on us every single day by real estate developers and investment bankers. Get real.

Reply
OldenDays

Great work Charles and Jackie. This is good, original reporting. Your network of sites is a boon to our community, as there is no one else to cover these local yet important stories.

Reply
Wow

Just remember kids… $3300 a month is subsidized favorable rent in NYC. I was one of the “lucky”few who won the lottery and could not afford the rent.

Reply
Craic Dealer

What’s a rip off is Van Brammer selling out to real estate developers. Most of these buildings are vacant.

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