Illegal Airbnb listings are thriving in hipster Brooklyn, hotel lobby says

Investigation found some hosts tell their guests to lie about staying through short-term rental service

Williamsburg (Credit: StreetEasy)
Williamsburg (Credit: StreetEasy)

The city might be trying to crack down on illegal Airbnb listings, but the site’s black market is still very popular in Brooklyn’s hipster neighborhoods.

The Hotel Association of New York hired the firm of former NYPD officer Herman Weisberg to look into illegal Airbnb activity, and he found that illegal listings in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant—three of the most popular Airbnb neighborhoods in New York—are thriving, according to the New York Post.

Some hosts blatantly tell their guests not to say they are staying there for Airbnb to avoid getting in trouble, while other landlords have gone as far as hiring management companies to run their Airbnb listings, the Post reported.

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City officials have recently stepped up their enforcement of illegal Airbnb listings. The Office of Special Enforcement issued 1,026 short-term-rental violations during the first six months of 2017 compared to 693 in 2016, a 32 percent increase.

Airbnb spokesperson Josh Meltzer slammed the hotel lobby for funding the undercover operation, and told the Post that private investigators like Weisberg were just harming the public.

“Responsible hosts who share their own home — and often just rooms in their homes — are now being targeted by industry-backed enforcement officials,” he said. [NYP]Eddie Small

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