Short term rental sites like Airbnb took a big hit in New York City this month, with hosts facing increased penalties and stricter enforcement if failing to abide by the new law. While this may decrease some of the illegal sublets on the market, many hosts will continue to find creative ways around being caught by their landlords. Why? Two reasons: 1) accountability is focused primarily on landlords and 2) easy money.
Caitlin Conners, a frequent and avid Airbnb host, stated bluntly in this New Yorker article why she consistently risked being caught illegally subletting various apartments over five years’ time:
“The financial upsides were considerable. By Airbnb-ing out their apartment one week a month, Connors and her roommate could clear their four-thousand-dollar rent. Sometimes they were gone for longer. One golden month, Airbnb-ing brought in five figures. ‘That’s more than most people, smart people, make in their job,’ Connors observed.”
Understanding why tenants illegally sublet their apartments is straightforward. Knowing how they do it takes a little more creative thinking.
6 Real Life Tactics of Illegal Sub-letters
- Avoiding apartment buildings with onsite property managers.
- If they sense an apartment manager is suspicious, they’ll take a break from subletting and even temporarily take their profile off the larger short-term rental sites.
- When signing multiple leases for Airbnb rentals, tenants will make sure they’re renting from different property management firms.
- Tenants will look for properties that utilize new technology and offer gate access from cell phones, allowing them to buzz in guests from anywhere.
- Instead of handing off keys to renters directly (where onsite cameras can catch the tenant doing so), they leave the keys with friends or even store clerks.
- Just as landlords have heard the horror stories of wild and destructive Airbnb parties, so have tenants. To avoid attracting notice from neighbors and landlords, they pick safe renters.
Worried about your own tenants using Airbnb? Unsure if your property managers are finding all possible culprits? Contact LeaseAbuse to learn how we’ve helped other landlords with the same concerns.