Categories: Hoboken Condos
There are debates about the pros and cons of AirBnB that take up pages and pages of the internet. My opinion is that it is a bad thing for communities because the municipality misses out on rightfully deserved tax revenues (such as hotel and licensed B&B’s must pay), bad for building and inhabitants (a constant stream of unknown people coming and going does not make for safe surroundings) and bad for the neighbors (who wants to live next to an apartment full of frat boys throwing a bachelor party every weekend?). I saw this billboard at the Exchange Place PATH platform yesterday:
To my mind, this takes AirBnB to a whole new level. Oh – they actually advertise these spaces right on AirBnB. The Hoboken location is at 1414 Grand Street in a new construction building called the Novia. What’s really interesting, is that along with these short-term AirBnB style rental, there are long term rentals in the building, as well. What comes to my mind is the following:
Is this not actually a hotel?
Does the entity profiting from this business pay taxes to Hoboken, Hudson County, the State of NJ or the Feds as a business?
Does homeowner’s insurance cover commercial endeavors like this? What would happen, for example, if a daily guest were to start a fire? Would the loss be covered?
What do the annual tenants living in the building think of the idea of temporary daily visitors having access to their building?
Do the annual rents reflect a discount to take into account the added risks and potential annoyances?
Does this conflict with local zoning rules? Is this type of commercial use in a residential zone permitted?
What happens when entire blocks or neighborhoods are no longer comprised of long term occupants with a vested interest in the safety and stability of the neighborhood but become nothing more than a row of short term properties run by out-of-town investors? It’s happening right now in parts of New Orleans.
Finally, does the City of Hoboken care about any of this? Especially the potentially missing revenue stream?
I know many people say they enjoy staying at an AirBnB because it feels more like you are a part of the neighborhood. Plus, you often get use of a kitchen and a whole apartment. I have friends who have turned their properties into AirBnBs because they make a hefty buck doing so. In Hoboken, it is a great way to get around the rent control laws! A condo that could only legally fetch $1,200 a month, can easily get $120 a day – or three times the legal rent!
Proponents say one should be able to do with one’s property what they like. But that is a specious argument as zoning and other laws have existed forever and limit what an owner can and cannot do with your own home. Taking residential properties off the market for residents and using them as hotel units reduces the supply of long term housing, thereby causing long term rents to rise. Most condo association master deeds and bylaws address short term rentals and prohibit them but many condo associations look the other way allowing owners to reap short term profits at the expense of the neighbors. Almost all rental buildings prohibit any subletting, let alone short term subletting.
Many other cities have begun to address the issue and regulate short term rentals (San Fransisco, New Orleans). This example, however, is the most blatant blurring of the line between a private home and a hotel. My prediction is that this is going to become a real issue in Hoboken and Jersey City in the not-too-distant future.