NYC Makes AirBnB Totally Legal. Almost.

No vegemite?

Technically, profiting from renting out your apartment to strangers is “illegal” because it violates clauses on your lease, and this all came to a head last year when city government fined a resident for renting out his East Village apartment on AirBnB. But as of yesterday, that all changed: AirBnB lawyers successfully reversed the fine AirBnB host Nigel Warren was slapped with in May. The Environmental Control Board decided that as long as a permanent occupant is present in the apartment, AirBnB hosts are not breaking the law. Woohoo!

This, however, also means that you won’t be able to book your apartment for the whole month while you trot off to Europe or South America. But this decision also essentially legitimizes AirBnB hosting as a full-time job. I mean, take this guy, Sei Shiroma, who’s considered an AirBnB “superhost.” He’s a freelance copywriter who rents out a room in his Bergen Street apartment and, if it’s a busy travel month, sometimes he’s able to pay his rent and more. If you’re working in a creative industry or an entrepreneur, being an AirBnB host gives you a bit more financial security than freelance purgatory. And it could positively affect your professional pursuits: a friend of mine who started her vintage clothing business used AirBnB income to fund buying trips and pay her rent during her time in Brooklyn. It also gave me a free place to stay while I played AirBnB host in her absence.

Housing is always my least favorite part of planning a trip, and I hate throwing money into a hotel. They’re usually stale if they’re corporate, and too fancy if they’re boutique. And while I didn’t enjoy doing the grunt work of laundry and deep cleaning, hanging out with all of the guests that stayed are some of the best times I’ve had while living in Brooklyn.  Except that time I had to clean some sheets with hydrogen peroxide.


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