Quicklink: How To Beat The High Cost Of Living In North Brooklyn?

I— as I imagine you, gentle readers— have often asked this very question. Thankfully we have Brooklyn Based to tell us how to make our apartments work while we play: rent it out to total strangers as a vacation rental! Preferably via Airbnb (which gets not one, not two, but three plugs in Brooklyn Based’s tome).

Yours trulys favorite passages are as follows:

“Once it’s up and running, it’s easy money,” says Julian, who first joined the Airbnb community in February 2010 (and asked that his last name not be used). The income from managing several listings around Brooklyn, all of which are already booked for the summer, covers the rent on a two-bedroom Williamsburg apartment, and has helped fund his dream: restaurant-ownership. This summer he’s opening Dear Bushwick on Wilson Avenue. (So much for anonymity; the State Liquor Authority’s web site took care of that.— Ed. Note)

It’s important to know that in May 2011, a New York state law went into effect to ban short-term residential rentals for less than 30 days, to help crack down on “illegal hotels.” While the law was designed to target apartment owners who were using residential buildings as hotels, it has created somewhat of grey area when it comes to Airbnb… 

“You have to be smart,” says Julian. He now rents and maintains four separate apartments throughout Brooklyn, three of which he uses exclusively to host Airbnb travelers. “I tell guests to keep their heads down and not make too much noise. You want to avoid 311 complaints—if you get a handful you might have a problem. But at this point the city can’t do much about it—they would have to set up a whole new department for dealing with this kind of stuff.” (So basically “Julian” concedes that what he is doing is illegal, but persists because there is a lack of enforcement. Interesting. — Ed. Note.)

It’s true that law enforcement currently only responds to complaints; assuming landlords or neighbors aren’t annoyed or bothered by what you do with your apartment. In this City Room post, Senator Liz Krueger, one of the sponsors of the bill* that makes short-term sublets illegal, says that “The city is not going to knock on doors.”

So, get permission or tread lightly. Julian relayed the story of a friend who wasn’t allowed to renew her lease after her management company found out she was subleasing her apartment through Airbnb without their approval. “You probably don’t want to rent your apartment in an area where people have been living for years,” he says. “It’s better when people are coming and going—so neighborhoods like Bushwick or the NYU area make it easier to keep a low profile.”

And last— but hardly least— my personal favorite:

“Go the extra step,” Julian says. “Leave a six-pack of beer in the fridge for guests. It doesn’t cost much, but it makes people happy.”

I can personally attest to the joy-giving properties of beer— but are the consumers Julian’s suds of legal age? He doesn’t indicate. I hope State Liquor Authority is paying attention to this.

In closing: Isn’t it refreshing to know “Julian” is able to afford to afford a two bedroom apartment in Williamsburg and open a bar in Bushwick because he is pressing residential space which could— at least theoretically— house families (or other “eyes on the street”) into service as a transient hotel? Or that Brooklyn Based saw fit to be an enabler for a phenomenon which, while in a “gray area” from a legal standpoint, indisputably undermines the quality of life and safety of those who have the misfortune of calling these “entrepreneurs” neighbors? And all in the name of “easy money”? The word “disgusting” does not even begin to cover how I feel about this.

Those of you who care to do so can read Brooklyn Based’s tome in its entirety by clicking here. Otherwise any of you who have had experiences with a neighbor (or tenant) leasing his/her apartment as a vacation rental please share your thoughts via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com.

Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire. Thanks!

*Here’s another sponsor of said bill: Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, 75th Assembly District. How do I know this? Very simple: someone from his office contacted me— two years ago.

P.S.: While I am vaguely on the subject of tourists and tourism, my comrade in the East Village, Jeremiah Moss, has authored an excellent piece. Here’s a passage I found particularly interesting:

As Fran Lebowitz said in an interview, “Present-day New York has been made to attract people who didn’t like New York. That’s how we get a zillion tourists here, especially American tourists, who never liked New York. Now they like New York. What does that mean? Does that mean they’ve suddenly become much more sophisticated? No. It means that New York has become more like the places they come from.”

Please take a moment to give it a read.

Comments

9 Comments on Quicklink: How To Beat The High Cost Of Living In North Brooklyn?

  1. reagan9000 on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:12 pm
  2. My favorite airbnb story, and why I would never do this myself, is this horrific tale of a renter who destroyed someone’s apartment and the complete failure of airbnb to respond the report of the crime. I believe that airbnb did end up implementing an emergency contact number, but haven’t read any followups that show improvements in airbnb’s customer service.

    I’d reckon that it wouldn’t be too nice to be the neighbor of an airbnb-subleased apartment. What interest would temporary tenants have in being good neighbors? Speaking as a landlord, I definitely wouldn’t want people living in my building that I didn’t get a chance to vet.

  3. missheather on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:21 pm
  4. I know someone who had his/her front door fixture jacked-up last weekend as a result of two drunken tourists mistaking his/her front door for the one across the hall. The neighbor in question was kind enough to lease her rent-stabilized apartment as a vacation rental (via Airbnb) while she took a vacation. This hilarious incident went down at 1:00 a.m. The neighbors have made their unhappiness quite clear. She has removed her listing— but not before they got screencaps and brought it to the attention of their landlord!

  5. eagle_teater on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:41 pm
  6. Mr. Julian Anonymous better hope no one gets hurt or hurts someone else in one of his ‘rentals’ because I can’t see any possible way for him to obtain insurance on these ‘apartments’ without lying about their use which means if something does happen he’s probably triply fucked: a lawsuit from one of his ‘guests’, a felony charge for insurance fraud, and a charge for illegally renting his apartments. Good job!

    As to the Fran Lebowitz quote- I grew up in Poughkeepsie in the 70s and 80s. She’d god damn right present day New York is for people who didn’t like that New York. Nobody liked that New York except the artists who came here FROM OTHER PLACES (Andy Warhol I’m looking at you) because it was cheap and then they romanticized it after they gentrified the places they settled in (SoHo). This stupid idea that most people actually liked that shit hole of a place in the 70s/80s is a complete fabrication of the people who came here to be part of the scene. Sound familiar? And then of course as soon as most of them made any money what did they do? Bought a house in Millbrook, Woodstock or Cold Spring and then got the hell out. So Frank Lebowitz can suck it.

  7. Rebecca11222 on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:45 pm
  8. Sensing the availability for a certain presence in 5-4-3-2-…

    OR you could just rent it, at a reasonable, monthly cost for respectable working people who won’t f-up your property and who will maintain the nabe, thus your property/ investment.

    Short term vs. long term and your good name.

  9. missheather on Tue, 29th May 2012 9:48 pm
  10. Rebecca11222: Greed makes people do stupid things.

  11. OldStyleNo10 on Wed, 30th May 2012 8:41 am
  12. “I grew up in Poughkeepsie in the 70s and 80s. She’d god damn right present day New York is for people who didn’t like that New York. Nobody liked that New York except the artists who came here FROM OTHER PLACES (Andy Warhol I’m looking at you) because it was cheap and then they romanticized it after they gentrified the places they settled in (SoHo). This stupid idea that most people actually liked that shit hole of a place in the 70s/80s is a complete fabrication of the people who came here to be part of the scene. Sound familiar?”

    Tne news may never have reached Poughkeepsie, but there are people who were born here, and who liked it. Even in the 70s and 80s, which were two incredibly different decades, by the way. Like the t-shirt about the old Shea Stadium said, “Sure it was shithole, but it was our shit hole.”

  13. missheather on Wed, 30th May 2012 9:14 am
  14. “Sure it was shithole, but it was our shit hole.”

    That’s great, OldStyle10!

    Methinks we’re interpreting Jeremiah’s piece (which really needs to be read in its entirety) differently. Here’s what I wrote him:

    Thank you, Jeremiah Moss, for articulating so well the utter shitshow my husband and I witnessed on Bedford Avenue Saturday night. As you may or may not be aware, this was the evening the Zombie Crawl came to pass. Thus we saw a number of “zombies” milling about. Most were well behaved (and funny). Most.

    On the way home (at North 7th Street) my husband and I spied a couple of “zombies” who decided it would be fun(ny) to amble into the street and block traffic. This did not go over well with the motorists desiring to use said thoroughfare so a salvo of honking followed. My first thought was “Where the hell are the police?” I mean, they rolled out the North Brooklyn Task Force (AKA: the riot squad) after Obama got elected. Your tome answers my question: they were somewhere else protecting the safety of people such as these two so they can enjoy their New York City experience (read: act like jerks).

    I cannot for the life of me imagine what it must be like to live on Bedford Avenue nowadays. Even our own Precinct Captain described it as being like Mardi Gras. Of course the crucial difference here is it is “Mardi Gras” every weekend.

    As for common courtesy; it is hardly elitist. That’s why they call it “common”.

  15. eagle_teater on Wed, 30th May 2012 10:39 am
  16. “Tne news may never have reached Poughkeepsie, but there are people who were born here, and who liked it”

    First let me say I loved Shea and which they never tore it down, although I do also like Citi Field.

    As to your response above…I have a tendency to be very bombastic, but my point was that there are just as many people who grew up in NYC or spent time here during the ‘real’ era that hated it as loved it. I was attempting to use the same broad stupid brush that Ms. Lebowitz uses when attempting to own the ‘truth’ about NYC. She can still suck it.

  17. missheather on Wed, 30th May 2012 1:48 pm
  18. I love you, eagle-teater!

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