2014 Oct 7th

AirBnB is an Easy Way for Hoboken Condo Owners to Make a Buck. But is it Good for Hoboken?

AirBnB has become quite a phenomena.  Many folks took advantage of the opportunity to use AirBnB to rent out their Hoboken condo or brownstone during the SuperBowl for thousands a week.  The AirBnB movement is growing, despite opposition from New York City government and the hotel industry.  Municipalities like New York are against it, primarily, because of the lack of payment of hotel tax to the City on these transactions.

If you look at the AirBnB site, you’ll find many accommodations available in Hoboken.  Some are in Hoboken condos, others in rental buildings like The Shipyard.  It’s easy for me to identify the buildings just from the photos.   I wonder if the Shipyard management knows about it.  Short-term rentals may seem like a great way to recoup some extra money when you’re going to be on vacation, or out of town on business, but is it?

First of all, most condo associations prohibit short-term rentals right in the Master Deeds and By-Laws.  Condo boards ought to be thinking about whether they want to enforce these provisions with penalties for violations or if they wish to put such restrictions into place if they don’t already exist.  Some things for condo boards to consider:

Besides these issues, there have been instances where the AirBnB “guest” has tried to assert rights as “tenant” and has refused to vacate the host property after the AirBnB reservation expired.  Remember, under New Jersey law, tenants have extreme protection from eviction.  You might think you are entitled to your own condo when the week us up, but a guest that won’t leave may be considered a tenant under the law and have the right to stay!

Personally, the idea of sleeping in someone else’s bed and vacationing in the midst of their personal belongings sort of grosses me out.  I’ll take a room at the W over that any day.  Of course, there is a price difference.  Do you think you’d want your neighbor to rent out their apartment to travelers?  Love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Gilby

    I agree with you Lori; not only would I not want my vacation time in someone’s private home that I don’t know, but I don’t want others in the building renting out their spaces to strangers. I’ve even let my neighbors know when I’ve had guests staying with me for a week or two so that they wouldn’t be concerned that strangers are coming and going in the building.

  2. a

    I’m all for airbnb. I’m all for Uber. I see nothing wrong with a handshake deal between two mature parties.

  3. Craig

    I’ve never hear of Airbnb. The idea sounds kind of gross to me. We’ll see what happens the first time someone rents out a place with bedbugs. We once had renters back a truck into the building’s facade when they were moving out. No lie. Renters just don’t have the same regard for a property as someone who has a stake in it. Short-term renters would be even worse.

    I’ll have to check our bylaws to see if that’s forbidden where I live. I certainly don’t want my home to become a semi-hotel. The W pulls it off because the rental rooms and condos are completely separated with their own floors and even separate bank of elevators. But in a smaller building, no way do you want that.

  4. Lori Turoff

    There is a more than a handshake between parties when one buys a condo. There is a contract – governing documents called a Master Deed and Bylaws. The parties typically agree that any lease by the unit owner will be for no less than a 1 year period. Renting out your condo to a vacationer for a week or two violated this prior agreement. Therein lies the rub. And in the bed lie the bugs.

  5. Edward

    I’ve used VRBO several times with great results. Hotels have bed bugs too. So what if one guy in SanFran asserted tenant rights. Don’t rent your place to the same person for 30+ days. That’s one guy out of how many…thousands? Condo association rules are a whole other ball of wax and should obviously be considered. But I don’t see a problem with sites like AirBNB or VRBO.

  6. Lori

    Not only do condos have restrictions on short term rentals, most standard form leases in New Jersey prohibit subletting – which is what these VRBO and AirBnB folks are doing – usually in violation of their lease. I have no problem with it if it doesn’t affect others in your building but in urban areas, that is rare. Who wants to live next to or below a bunch of unknown, transient vacationers partying until all hours of the night?

  7. Sam

    In my opinion it is all good until a serious things happen. Home owner suddenly realize what a mistake he/ she did! Say some one dies- may be due to a heart attack or some accident happen, then it becomes a police case. Slowly one starts to realize – all the illegal things being done. In NJ a typical mortgage will not be approved if that place is used as boarding house. This is the state mortgage law. Local zoning does not allow this either.Even insurance will not cover if a fire breaks out while they are inside, as hotel’s commercial insurance rate is lot higher than condo or single family homes. So this is a very risky proposition home owners are getting very inclined to do. Unless all parties are agreed upon in writing such business should not be encouraged.

  8. Virginia

    The “home owner” may be a tenant (like the people at Marine View Towers) who is illegally sub-letting their rental property. They may not care what happens in their building since they do not own it, just rent it. Especially if they have a second home where they really live full time.

  9. Chris

    Why is it gross? It’s the same as someone renting out a shore home for a week or weekend.

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