Air BNB

Jan 7th, 2013, 04:59 AM
  #1  
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Air BNB

Hello. I was looking on the New York section of the Air BNB site the other day for the first time and was quite impressed by the rooms and other types of accommodation on offer. I was wondering if anyone on here had booked places to stay through Air BNB and what they thought of them. Thank you!
MaisiePlague is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 05:40 AM
  #2  
 
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As many posters will shortly tell you, almost all rentals on Air BnB are illegal in NYC. Even staying in a room in an occupied apartment for less than 30 days (for payment, not for free) is illegal in NYC. So basically, while most of the time these kinds of rentals go without incident, if something does happen, you have no legal recourse to get a refund and no help to find a last-minute, expensive hotel room. Basically, those of us in NYC will almost universally tell you to avoid it at all costs and find a hotel room you can afford, staying in Queens if necessary.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 07:19 AM
  #3  
 
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The legality of what Airbnb owners can/cannot do in NYC is a bit murky, but lots of people have individual opinions, including travel writers. Doug is right in sounding a warning.

To be on the safe side, I'd suggest trying to find something on the New Jersey side, especially those that are close to a PATH train station, such as the Grove Street Station or the Journey Square Station in Jersey City. The PATH trains will get you into Manhattan in very short time. Here's a map to the PATH train routes and stations.

http://www.panynj.gov/path/grove-street-station.html

You don't want to find something that makes you cross over a bridge, like in Hoboken, traffic over the bridges can be horrendous. I see a number of rooms on Airbnb which say they are close to a bridge (especially the Lincoln Highway) and therefore give you the idea that you're really close to Manhattan. You may be close, but crossing over those bridges is another matter, especially if you need to do it several times a day.

Good luck with finding something! I've found the friendship that sometimes develops with local hosts the most rewarding part of using Airbnb.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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What Doug said.

IMHO nothing makes up for not staying in Manhattan if you can possibly afford it.

Caveat: we always go for centrally located full service hotels in cities - since we like to walk lots of places from the hotel and want a bar and 24 hour room service, concierge etc. Frankly we're not looking to make new friends of random strangers renting out a room - I don;t have time enough to see the friend that I have. And to me the idea of staying in a stranger's house is creepy - unless run on a professional basis (we've stayed in a lovely 15th century chateau near Chinon and an 18th century manor house in Belgium - but nothing like air BNB - or any B&B).
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 09:12 AM
  #5  
 
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nytraveler, you seem to have a very biased view of the properties offered by airbnb.

The "idea of staying in a stranger's house is creepy" to you? How about a beautiful villa on the Mediterranean that rents for over $2000 a night? That's a "stranger's house". Or how about having an entire English castle for you and your family? That's a "stranger's house" too. Or how about having an entire island to yourself? Wow! That must be really creepy! Not only is that a stranger's island but a random stranger's island!

I'd suggest that you really should try out a property on airbnb before developing such negative views of this new way of lodging for travelers.

Just a few months ago, we stayed in a "creepy stranger's house (not)" in Washington State; the house had lofty cathedral ceilings and a huge kitchen area with a center island that must have measured about 15 feet along one edge. The house was immaculate and beautifully furnished and decorated. He is a retired college professor and she an artist. They offered a copious breakfast and we way overstayed because we had such a delightful time chatting with these "strangers".

You can't judge everything by the pocket-handkerchief-sized rooms in NYC.

Anyway, Maisie, you do have to be VERY CAREFUL when you choose a property on airbnb. This means doing some research. I almost always choose properties that have several reviews, read the reviews, read about the reviewers themselves - and, since cleanliness is one of my main concerns, see what star rating the reviewers have given for the cleanliness of a property. Then you have to look into the neighborhood and the proximity to public transportation if you wouldn't have a car.

Hope you find something that will make your stay in NY a happy one!
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 09:35 AM
  #6  
 
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I thought I responded to this when I mention the chateau near Chinon and the manor house in Belgium. But those properties are both run professionally and have a number of rooms or suites (from 10 to 14 perhaps) to rent.

Having dinner en famille with guests from Canada, Argentina, Russia, and Germany - as well as the owners of the chateau near Chinon - was definitely a highlight. But what the OP is talking about is renting someone's spare room in Jersey. Not a professionally run - through private - residence.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Sorry - and people are free to do whatever they chose - even flout the law.

But the fact is that in NYC most of these internet offerings are illegal and a significant number are downright scams - and just don't exist.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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There was an article in the New York Times Business Day section on Nov. 30, 2012 for anyone interested.
SusieQQ is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 01:34 PM
  #9  
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Thank you Easytraveller and everyone else for replying to my post. I will study the AirBNB site a bit more. They say they've been going for quite a few years now and I've never read anything bad or off-putting about them but it does pay to be cautious. Private room rates they list just seem so much more affordable than regular hotel prices which is why it is so tempting to give it a try.
MaisiePlague is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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Maisie, I'm a huge fan of AirBnB, have stayed at properties in the US and Europe and now look there first when making reservations. I currently have 2 bookings coming up in the next week.

Nytraveler has a definite attitude whenever this site is mentioned, here and on other forums. I'm quite sure she has no personal experience and you will note she inaccurately characterized your search as "renting someone's spare room in Jersey" rather than putting forth her experience.

nd I'll add that all the places I've booked have been very professionally run and more, excellent value. I travel a lot and will continue to use the site with pleasure.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 02:17 PM
  #11  
 
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There's currently an article on www.skift.com regarding AirBnB in NYC. The author surmises that about half of the site's offerings in the city are illegal. But not a reason to not use the site in my opinion. If you want to play it safe then rent a room in an occupied house or apartment rather than a whole apartment if it's for less than 30 days. The site offers many great rooms for rent. I'm pretty fussy and have always been satisfied. My current reservations are for a room for 1 night and an apartment for a week, not in NYC.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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I've been hosting on AIRBNB for 3 years - It's true the laws are a bit confusing - but here is a little clarity - As the OWNER of my properties I have a license from the state of NY to rent my apartments. I am required to charge and pay taxes. It's definitely worth checking out airbnb as an option. Hotels are ridiculously expensive in NYC. My suggestion: Look for properties with excellent reviews.
liani is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 03:52 AM
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quikbook is advertising rooms through May at the Park South Hotel for $119.00 a night and that includes breakfast. Look around and you will find budget choices in Manhattan that are at least rated as 3*.
EmilyPost is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 05:15 AM
  #14  
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Thank you Emily, Liani and Mme Perdu. I agree about the price of hotels in New York which is why Air BNB seems such a good idea. Also, you get the chance to perhaps meet some local people which can make such a difference when you are in city you might not know too well. My next trip to New York will hopefully be in November so I'll start scouring the Air BNB lists soon. Emily, good price for the Park South Hotel!
MaisiePlague is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #15  
 
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Maisie: You've gotten some input from some who are users of Airbnb. The advice to book something with excellent reviews is a very good piece of advice. For a first time user you shouldn't take any chances.

The other thing about Airbnb is that it's two-way street. Yes, the renters can write up the owners, but the owners can also write up the renters. The owners are just as anxious as to whom they rent to as renters are concerned about the owners. The two-way review system is a powerful guide that just about every other type of holiday accommodations lacks.

If you want to remain in good standing at Airbnb, be certain that you are a good guest. You often hear about the problem in hotels with noisy or obnoxious guests. The hotels can't really write up these guests. However, on Airbnb, the hosts can. Get a bad enough reputation on Airbnb and you'll find that the best choices will not rent to you.

In a way, Airbnb offers a way worldwide for good hosts and good guests to get together. Also you're right that one of the unmentioned perks of Airbnb is to be able to talk with locals on a much more personal basis than is possible with the hotel concierge or other travelling hotel guests.

Good luck on your search and maybe you could come back and tell us of your experience, good or bad.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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I have no experience whatever with Air BnB - this is not the type of accommodation that we are interested in. We prefer full-service hotels. And I am not making any claims about specific accommodations.

I am simply pointing out what is legal and what is not.

People can stay wherever they choose - but I would be hesitant to stay in a type of accommodation that I knew was illegal in a particular area. (Granted in most parts of the world what Air BnB does is legal. But they do have a running conflict with the city of New York - which has requested that they remove flagrantly illegal listings. They have removed some of the worst offenders - companies that were renting out all of the rooms/apartments in residential buildings as hotel rooms at massive profits - but many still remain.)

But, anyone considering this should know the city is now taking a stronger stance on this issue and acting more quickly on complaints by other tenants about transients in residential buildings.
nytraveler is offline  
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