City should punish tenants renting affordable units on Airbnb: Jimmy Van Bramer

Subsidized units at Related's Hunters Point South priced at $500 a night on website

Hunters Point South
Rendering of Hunters Point South (credit: Related) and Jimmy Van Bramer

New York City should crack down on affordable housing tenants who rent out their units on Airbnb, according to City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, who called the practice “appalling.”

Van Bramer cited ads on the popular home-sharing website offering stays at the Related Cos.’ Hunters Point South in Long Island City for up to $500 a night. More than 90,000 people applied last year for a mere 924 permanently affordable apartments at the two-building residential complex, which boasts waterfront views and a rooftop garden.

But some tenants lucky enough to win the city’s housing lottery for a home in the subsidized luxury building were recently caught advertising their apartments on Airbnb, according to DNAinfo, drawing Van Bramer’s ire.

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One of the three Hunters Point South postings on the website, which have since been taken down, was for a two-bedroom unit priced at more than $500 a night.

“More than 90,000 people applied for just over 900 apartments in this development, and now Airbnb is providing a platform that turns rental units into illegal hotels,” Van Bramer said.

He called on the city to specifically investigate “illegal hotel uses” in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized buildings, adding that he plans to draft legislation that would establish penalties for city-subsidized renters caught violating rules. [DNAinfo]Rey Mashayekhi