Airbnb Host Welcomes Travelers From All Over

A Queens resident with a spare bedroom has rented it out over the past 10 months to scores of guests, taking in almost $18,000.

Comments: 254

  1. What an entertaining story about individual enterprise. It's a shame that he is about to run into the regulatory machinery and most likely be forced out of business.

  2. Agreed. Especially since hotels in NYC have priced themselves completely out of the range of the 99%. I heart NY too but I can't often go there - too expensive to stay.

  3. Why will this be pushed out of business?

    He pays his taxes. He doesn't violate the law against <1 month rentals (those only apply when the host is not in residence). I don't see anything in this that the Attorney General will care about....

  4. Not true. Host-present "private room" rentals are legal in New York. This is not the issue being litigated. Host-absent "entire place" rentals (which are really vacation rentals are being contested.

  5. Thanks for writing this wonderful story. When I travelled Europe on the cheap in college I stayed at "pensiones." These little, "hyper local" places were not only inexpensive, but always offered the best perspective to any given town or city. Large hotels have their purpose, but it's definitely not like how I like to travel. AirBnB has provided an amazing platform for travelers to have a unique experience--something that is in no way competitive to the standardized and anonymous hotel chains--while invigorating little towns and neighborhoods with much needed tourist dollars.

  6. It may not be competitive to large chain hotels, but definitely competitive to bed and breakfasts like mine. Hence, the BNB part of AirBnB.

    It's *not* invigorating little towns and neighborhoods with needed tourist dollars because the tourists were already coming. But before they were paying taxes to support their use of infrastructure, etc. By circumventing the local tax code, we're deepening an already dire budget problem with city and county finances.

    Make them pay taxes and buy insurance and we'll see how competitive they can be.

  7. I had no idea Airbnb sent out 1099s. So that means copies must also be going to government tax authorities and people must be reporting it as income. I thought Schneiderman was upset because he thought people weren't paying income taxes. But how could that be the case if Airbnb issues 1099s?

  8. I'm an Airbnb host, and yes, we definitely pay taxes. I put 10% of every guest's payment into a savings account to pay the taxes.

  9. I had one lovely stay by way of airbnb (in Cambridge, Mass) and one which I felt put my guests in danger (just outside Paris France - I had booked it for friends who were visiting) - and in fact they didn't stay there the second night. I must say airbnb posted my negative review on the site, so the owner will have to make changes before anyone else will choose that listing, but even one night is one too many.

  10. Mr. Naess is certainly a dynamo of energy and gracious hospitality and I admire his congenial indefatigableness. But which one of the following two statements, both of which appear in the profile, is true: "He pedals to work on a bicycle, 22 miles each way." "Each morning, he runs four miles to work." Does he pedal or does he run? Is work 22 miles away -- or four miles in the distance? (Submitted by the department of trivial fact verification.)

  11. The article made no such mistake. As the article clearly stated, it is one of his guests (a man from Germany) who described peddaling to work 22 miles each way, and it's Mr. Naess who runs four miles to work.

  12. It was one of his guests who biked 22 miles to work each day - the test driver from Germany I believe.

  13. It was the German guest who peddled 22 miles to work.

  14. What a wonderful way to use mostly dormant assets. If the hotel's don't like it, they can change their pricing and amenity structures to attract these guests.

    For an out of town visitor to New York, 2 nights in Manhattan (with taxes and fees) can be the same as a monthly mortgage payment for an average home in my state. A subway ride into Manhattan is no great inconvenience.

  15. These aren't dormant assets. Its his home, which he can't afford.

  16. It is amazing how the meaning of the word "sharing" has been distorted by Internet entrepreneurs who are making millions off these schemes. If you're making a profit from it, is that really sharing?

    To call a spade a spade, this man is running a B&B out of his apartment. Not sure how I would feel about that if I were on the condo board, but so long as the guests are quiet, who can complain? On the other hand, the city is losing out: the guests really ought to be paying occupancy tax.

  17. '...but so long as the guests are quiet, who can complain?...'

    The other tenants, on realizing that dozens of strangers are given keys to the building without being vetted by the coop or condo board?

  18. I have been using airbnb for years, even when travelling for work, which would have paid for a much nicer hotel. Travel accounting is very curious when I submit an expense report showing only $65/night in Rome!. While saving money is nice, what I enjoy is the person to person experience, unique locations, and connection to the neighborhood. New York needs to find a way to let this happen, and New York Hotels should maybe find a way to charge less than $300/night.

  19. I thought the free market set the $300/night charge, not New York. And I don't understand why NY needs to find a way to make this happen. How about helping it happen so long as no one's rights are trampled? But, then, we're also talking about a need for government.

  20. Hotel prices will certainly fall and room prices in NYC, DC, Boston, Paris and London will become affordable. Then the likes of Airbandb will be forced back to $45 and then the cost of washing sheets, towels and floors will seem outrageously expensive notwithstanding people's time and energy. However, this rent-a-room phenomenon (standardized and scored) will change the hotel industry forever because the participation growth rate is astounding and sustainable.

  21. Hotel room prices may fall, but will NYC apartment rental and purchase prices for those looking for permanent homes?

  22. No mention of Mr. Naess's neighbors or his condo board feel about the endless parade of strangers, some of whom come and go at all hours.

    Without that perspective, the piece is incomplete.

    When a resident of my building decided to turn her condo into a hotel, it quickly became a nuisance and she was forced to discontinue the practice.

    Most condominium governing documents prohibit Airbnb-type activity. I suspect Mr. Naess's building either does or will shortly.

  23. I think it was intended to be a light human-interest piece, not a comprehensive analysis of the Airbnb question. At least that's how I received it.

  24. Will the real airbnb please stand up?

    This article does a great job of showcasing what I call "the GOOD airbnb" - host-present "Private Room" rentals. These are already legal in New York. "Private Room" rentals do not deplete the month-to-month rental stock (except, as the article shows, for long-term roommate rentals) and do help residents stay in their homes. When a host is present there is little chance of an airbnb "horror story". These hosts may not be aware that should a guest fall and suffer an injury their standard homeowners insurance will not cover any liability. This is a risk that they must be prepared
    to take.

    The problem with airbnb are the host-absent "Entire Place" rentals (which are really just vacation rentals). I call these "the BAD airbnb". "Entire Place" rentals are currently illegal in New York. "Entire Place" rentals definitely deplete the month-to-month rental stock and do not help residents stay in their homes. These are also the source of virtually all airbnb "horror stories". So far airbnb "horror stories" have been have been about eviction and property damage, but eventually there will be bodily injury, a fire, rape or a death. Then there will be a true "horror story".

    When airbnb describes their "average" host they combine the two types of rentals which is deceptive. The profile of a "Private Room" host is very different than the profile of an "Entire Place" host. airbnb could easily provide segmented statistics, they just choose not to.

  25. What a lively peek into "the beautiful room" in Queens. I feel as though I have met the owner and some of his global guests. Except for a nasty situation in Seville, my own experiences with Airbnb have been varied and positive, although none so generous as this!

  26. Mr. Naess, as the owner of the property, already pays property taxes. Forcing him to collect and remit hotel occupancy taxes would be wrong and stupid, which is why the State AG is forcing the issue. Still, even if they had to collect it, the cost/night is still less than a hotel and what a rewarding experience for both the host and traveler!

  27. So if hotels own their property and pays property taxes they should not have to collect occupancy tax?

  28. Mr. Naess, as the owner of the property, already pays residential property taxes, not commercial.

  29. The flags in the guest room are a nice touch - but I was pretty surprised to see a Vermont flag featured prominently among all the international ones! (Though as a Vermonter, I'm very pleased to see it.)

  30. Why is it that in Europe people are open to taking others into their homes as a common practice. But here, in the USA, it becomes a violation of the "rules". Sometimes this country is so backward.

  31. Don't forget that in Europe,and some parts of USA, these are often single homes or small apartments; in New York City, these are usually high rise buildings with many other tenants who are quite inconvenienced and never consulted.

  32. I live in Europe. I have no idea what part of Europe you're referring to.

  33. Because it is an apartment building with common areas, not a private home, so this is the equivalent of your neighbor handing everyone keys to your property without your permission.

    Perhaps you would enjoy coming home to find strangers having a barbecue in your backyard?

  34. Savvy travelers worldwide have been finding creative ways of integrating their trip into the lives of real local people and customs. After one has been to enough place, you almost instinctively reject tourist traps, overpriced attractions and overhyped restaurants. The "7 countries in 7 days" junkets are simply the mo9st horrible waste of your money. I have rented a villa in Tuscany, an apartment in Prague, a yacht in Croatia, a flat in London, a cottage France, an apartment in Moscow, etc. All of it almost always under the price I would have to pay for a decent hotel. In the process you get to eat where the locals eat, shop where the locals shop and get a sense full rhythm of life.

  35. First Airbnb says, I'm not doing anything wrong; then they say - don't investigate me while I try to influence the politicians to get the rules changed.

    Could anyone possibly think that Airbnb's hands are clean? This is just another attempt to trash NYC's zoning rules.

    The author paints a pretty picture of this illegal hotel business, but what happens when drunken guests urinate in the hallway, or bring back prostitutes with them?

    Zoning and property usage rules in NYC go back to the Colonial era - they are the stuff that civilization is made of. They reflect problems that have popped up in the past, not an arbitrary desire to ruin other people's fun.

  36. Theoretically it could not happen. But, in reality, it probably can.

    That's what New York has the court system for. It frequently failed but we have to respect their decisions.

  37. If one of these strangers damages the apartment building or robs another tenant, then what? Or makes copies of the keys and gives them out to other people?

    Does the apartment owner have insurance to cover that? Of course not, as that would mean functioning as a business, with all the rules and regulations that go with that responsibility.

  38. "The author paints a pretty picture of this illegal hotel business, but what happens when drunken guests urinate in the hallway, or bring back prostitutes with them?"

    I can't say I understand this reasoning. If we eliminate everything that has a downside, what's left?

  39. From what I saw over thirty years in the Keys, short term, unregulated rentals are disastrous for the neighbors and the entire neighborhood.
    You buy an extravagantly expensive place and your neighbor turns the place into party central 24/7/365.

  40. Maybe on Key West...

  41. It's unlikely that a guest who truly misbehaved would get another Airbnb host to take their reservation -- hosts can review guests and vice versa. I've not seen any mention of the lengths Airbnb goes to to monitor the behavior of guests and hosts. Guests and hosts can call Airbnb during the visit to report problems or misrepresentations, and Airbnb will step in -- and if a host double books so that there is no room for the guests when they arrive, Airbnb will find them comparable lodgings and apply the payment the guests have made to the new lodging, because Airbnb doesn't even release the rental payment until the 2nd day of a guest's stay, so the guest can report problems and misrepresentations. And to answer the folks who complain about "legal" B&B's having to pay for permits and to be inspected, etc., we also pay for permits, are inspected by the health department, etc. We are not in the same situation as the gentleman in the article, but I suspect that a lot of self-selection and self-regulation goes on for the community of Airbnb hosts and guests, and that's why our experience with guests has been basically 100% positive. Go on Airbnb.com and see some of the verification and monitoring that is in place.

  42. It is unfair in my opinion for the government / business community to deprive our citizens from this potential income steam. Especially when our winner take all system cant seem to share the wealth in any appreciable way.
    The hotel and hospiitality people will still do fine. The sharing economy is a win win.
    Lighten up established money interests.

  43. What about the rights of neighbors?

  44. As a frequent traveler myself, I am often an airbnb guest but I am not in any way affiliated with its business or operations. Airbnb is an extraordinary win-win-win idea that benefits not only travelers and hosts but also local economies around the world. Many travelers could not afford to visit cities like NY, Paris or London (or could not afford to stay for long) if they were restricted to staying in pricey hotels. The local economies that these guests travel to would be deprived of the considerable revenue such visitors spend while in town. Many hosts (retired, disabled, unemployed) could not find other income streams if they were prevented from renting their spare rooms. And the sector of travelers who stay in airbnb rooms are not the same sector who stay in $300/night hotels -- those hotels will still have their healthy share of the market from the many guests who prefer the reliability of the hotel experience.

    The regulatory entities that are threatening to shut down "the sharing economy" should rethink the consequences of their actions. This type of governmental shortsightedness is common in countries like France (whose non-competitive economy suffers mightily from it) but is a slap in the face to American ingenuity. These airbnb and other similar entrepreneurs should be supported and rewarded for their creativity, not punished for recognizing a genuine niche and working to fulfill it.

  45. I agree. This new crop of entrepreneurs should be carefully nurtured.

    It was after reading the article on the NY Attorney General's pursuit of Airbnb that I began to understand why young, innovative Americans might find someone like Rand Paul so appealing. If you look at the types of businesses popping up all the time and think about our regulatory system, you start to see a huge disconnect.

  46. '...The regulatory entities that are threatening to shut down "the sharing economy" should rethink the consequences of their actions...'

    There is no 'sharing' going on here, unless you mean allowing strangers to share the common spaces of a building with fellow tenants without their permission.

  47. It all comes down to lawyers right, and the more recent conservatism slant in cities like NYC. Can't smoke, can't drink on your own stoop, can't do what you want in your own home. Towns in certain parts of CentralEurope have been doing this kind of thing for decades, whereby when you arrive at the local train station there are older women waiting there for visitors who may want to rent a room in their private homes. Everything now in the U.S. is about 'regulation'. Want to take a certain remedy for yourself? Nope. Not unless the FDA has 'approved' it, even though it should be your body, your life, your decision.

  48. So many questions.

    Wonder if Michael Naess pays city business taxes or simply more city, state, and federal income taxes?

    Wonder if the condo association rules allow running a B&B out of one's apartment?

    Wonder if the condo association's master insurance policy can be considered null and void since the association probably is misrepresenting what kind of property it is- mixed used? Suppose one of the guest's smoking starts a fire. Would the insurance company say sorry condo association you're out of luck. The policy is for a residential building not a hotel?

    Is Naess' condo fee higher than his neighbors' since he's running a business and using more resources such as water? Wonder what his neighbors / fellow condo owners his B&B?

    Micheal Naess bought more real estate then he could afford. Why does a singe person need a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment? Why would ANYONE buy real estate or any other big ticket item "When he bought...found himself financially pinched." ?

    Someone who takes on more debt than responsible then runs a hotel out of their apartment? I would be my last cent Naess is violating not only the condo agreement but the law. Bet he has no business license and is not paying business taxes even if he pays tax on the income.

    If I ever buy an apartment give me the old fashioned old fogey busybody coops any day of the week. They thoroughly vet potential residents' financial stability.

  49. Another good point. I lived for 9 years prior to 2005 in a Florida condo and I vaguely remember problems with one unit along the lines you mention.

    I think we resolved them quickly and amicably (shutting the revolving door of that particular unit). I spent all 9 years there on the condo board and my memory is not yet gone...

  50. In prior reports on airbnb many homeowners state the loss of a job, divorce or other financial hardship has lead them to take in travelers. We are wrong to assume Mr. Naess purchased a home larger than he can afford. For homeowners who are underwater with their loans, simply selling and moving to more modest accommodations is not possible. Airbnb has prevented many homeowners from having their homes foreclosed upon.

  51. Such a miserly mean view of the world. I do feel very sorry for you. You really don't know what you're missing. My mother and I stayed in homes throughout England, Scotland, France, Germany and the Nederlands back in 1974 and we had a wonderful time meeting generous, warm people, learning about their culture and their view of the world. Priceless!
    Through AirB&B my children are now enjoying similar experiences across Europe... and have made so many good friends.

  52. Enjoyed the story! I was an early host with airbnb and am beginning my 5th year at my home on the Vineyard. It is a huge amount of work but the view of the world that I have gotten from people from all over the world (I host as well in Venice, Italy bringing in even more variety!) has been an education that I would not have had with my working schedule that does not allow for travel. The world comes to me. It has increased my sense of empathy for a variety of people and the warmth of most guests brings a sense of positive connection in a world of negative news. Have there been a few problems? Yes! But airbnb in general, responds to issues and if you need additional help and persist, the right person is there to support me. I have had people from incredible walks of life -- from the highly educated elegance of many to the humbler salt of the earth people that can feel like family. It has been a ride that I would not have given up for the world. . . even if there are a few bumps in the road.

  53. And did NYC inspect the place? Has he paid bed taxes on that $18K?

    I own a Bed and Breakfast and have to deal with inspections, fees ranging from fire extinguishers, insurance, food and use permit licenses and more. Entrepreneurs like Mr. Naess here in California and across the world are able to undercut me and others and take money that we have been using to pay our (substantial) mortgages.

    How is this right?

  54. Because it's the American way - to be resourceful. The bureaucratic layering of rules and regulations continue to bury small business, including yours, but that is not the fault of a person excising an asset.Take that up with city hall. The fact that you have a substantial mortgage is also not the fault of Mr Naess. Maybe you have taken on more than you can handle. Quit complaining and start doing, that too is the American way.

  55. Of course he paid taxes. It says right in the article that he received a 1099. New York law prohibits renting rooms and requires a license when the owner is not present -- but this wasn't the case here. You would have got a legitimate point if he had another apartment he had been renting out.

  56. Yes, what is the difference between what Mr. Naess (and Airbnb) is doing and having a Bed and Breakfast place in your home?

    Of course, California is an over-regulated state and we pay for it in our state taxes...

  57. Mr. Naess makes the chores of having guests, doing laundry and staying up until 1 am to meet and greet, sound like fun. Nice to see that his desire to rent space matches his ebullient personality.

  58. I think this is great, free enterprise and as long as accommodations are safe and clean why not? I can only assume the AG is pushing so hard at the behest of the hotel industry because otherwise this is so insignificant as to not merit attention.

  59. The tax loss for the city could be significant.

  60. The U.S. can take what Truman proudly said, the buck stops here, to the bucks are awash here in the unfettered capitalism in today's U.S. of A. Gosh, it (moolah) even trumps free speech in the land of the not so free and the not so brave in the face of almighty greed.

  61. This article reveals the human side of airbnb, making possible human connection and enabling travel for people who can't afford cold impersonal hotels, all of which the government wants to squash

  62. I'm pleased that Michael Naess is doing well; however, as a former vacation rental host, in our home, I can tell you it's not "free" money - you work for it!

    Yes, the money helps pay the rent/mortgage/property taxes, for sure, All of our guests were consistently wonderful and grateful for modestly priced, clean and nicely located accommodations but we worked hard at creating that environment, everyday.

    The City will tell you that they are concerned with health-and-safety issues. The SEIU complains that vacation rental hosts aren't paying their fair share, and thus want a "level playing field." Homeless advocates and the tenant's union see Airbnb's service as a threat to their poor, financially marginalized constituencies and thus contributing to housing inequities. The City of Portland now wants a $4000 fee from those seeking to operate a vacation rental plus gobs of paperwork. Hear that phone ring? It's your homeowner's insurance agent calling. The knock on the door? It's your neighbor complaining, as they just received a notice from the City.

    Despite all of this, VRBO, Airbnb, Home Away et al will not disappear, especially when hotel rooms in destinations like NYC average $300 a night. Based on that, someone's nicely appointed spare bedroom (or couch) looks and feels awfully good! What's for breakfast?

  63. This is such an interesting concept I wish it was replicated in other cities. The home-ly feel is always nice when you travel

  64. It IS replicated in cities around the world! We live in the NYC metro area and are planning to use airbnb in Vienna and throughout Europe. We've tried it in Washington, D.C., in Philadelphia and other great places in the U.S. -- and it's worked out well. Lets us go a lot of places we couldn't otherwise afford.

  65. I just access the Airbnb website. They are, indeed, all over the world.

  66. It's all over the world! And you can do it for free on couchsurfing.com.

  67. A sincere thank you for the engaging, surprisingly neutral "life in the day" from the AirBnB battle front. As with NYC, we're dealing with oft times heated disputes regarding the balance between entrepreneurial freedom and the need for some degree of public regulation.

  68. This describes to a T my experience as an airbnb host on Cape Cod. Lots of international visitors who are intelligent, friendly, generous, civilized and extremely well-mannered. If have a helpful personality you can have a wonderful experience hosting visitors in your home and you can make a lot of money. You can answer that 1099 that the website reports to the IRS by deducting your airbnb business expenses like housekeeping. laundry, breakfast food and snacks, etc. Of course NYC wants to shut this down. They can see where the hospitality industry is going. International travelers want a casual home-like environment with the recommendations of a budget-conscious host. When you get them in and get them out as Mr. Naess and I do it is a lot of laundry and conversation even when you're too tired to smile anymore. But it's so worth it.

  69. No one wants to shut this down when it is a private home, although some neighbors might object to having a bed and breakfast next door to them, it is hardly the same thing as having strangers with keys to the hallways of your apartment building.

  70. Nothing about how his neighbors in the building might feel about hundreds of strangers being given keys to the building, free to roam where they will.

    Nothing about the inevitable infestation of bedbugs that hitches rides on traveler's luggage.

    The owner bought a large apartment that he could not afford, so he should sell it and buy something within his budget.

  71. Yes, I am one of the neighbors. I don't appreciate the confusion, noise and congestion of foreign tourists (few speak English amongst themselves when they are in the elevator with me or in the halls) carrying luggage, etc. I almost feel like I live in a hotel intruding on them! Its not just about regulatory issues and competition in the hotel industry. neighbors bear the day to day brunt of this and make no profit for the inconvenience to us. We live with it, and, especially when there is an absentee owner (often the case) he/she never deals with it.

    I think this article is a plant by Air Bnb, not really a common story of single person being host to these "interesting" tourists. Lots of people in NYC get apartments, a block of them, for the sole purpose of renting them to visitors. This story doesn't tell this.

  72. Your first point is valid, the second could happen anywhere - my friend got bed bugs at the W!

    Your last point is truly unaware of reality in expensive cities. I bought a 2/2 condo in 2002 in San Francisco. I never thought 12 years later I would still be single and paying for this place on my own. I have had roommates to help with that. Now I support my elderly mother and every year, costs for her and my home go up but my income remains the same. If I sell my place, I would have to leave the city as I cannot afford current rents, and there is nothing affordable to buy. I am also considering ABnB.

    So please try not to judge folks so harshly and have some understanding that life is not always so simple.

  73. Since the time that he purchased the apt, the neighborhood value likely has increased. If he waits, he may be priced out.

  74. What I haven't seen mentioned in any of the discussion of Airbnb, is that if not for Airbnb, I would not be able to afford to visit NY at all. I simply cannot afford $300 a night. So even though the hotel industry has led the opposition to this kind of lodging, folks in my budget range would not be staying with them anyway. NY benefits from the money I spend when I am there, but that will be lost if they outlaw this type of budget lodging.

  75. Do not forget people have to come for potentially live saving surgeries (I was at Sloan Kettering). They will pay almost everything to do that.

  76. Sloan Kettering and other major hospitals have referral services, or even their own facilities for just this. I don't guess they refer to Air b&b.

  77. The YMCA is simple but clean and approximately $120 per night with tax.

  78. These international interludes are invaluable. We need more people like Mr. Naess to open their homes and their experience. Travel should not be reserved for people who can afford over priced hotel rooms. As long as people show some respect for the neighbors and the building the Airbnb model is sound. I used it once in San Francisco and it was fine. Hope the AG backs off.

  79. '...As long as people show some respect for the neighbors and the building...'

    And if they don't? And the owner is elsewhere? Then what?

  80. You've got be kind of daring to open your house to strangers in NY. But I think it brings the world's cultures together. This cross-cultural stimulation has to have other benefits than financial, such as more trust among nationalities and an openness that promotes sharing. It was a wonderful story to read!

  81. Airbnb apparently takes care of selection of hosts and, more importantly, the guests.

    If the government worries about that, they may have a point. But NOT on taxes.

  82. '...You've got be kind of daring to open your house to strangers in NY...'

    He is not opening only his house to strangers, he is opening the entire building.

    See the problem?

  83. What a great way to form international friendships! The government should encourage, not discourage, this. I am looking forward to my first BNB experience in Arezzo, Italy, in September!

  84. I stayed in New York in 2003 for a recovery from my surgery in a private apartment as well.

    There were some differences: the owner was absent and it was next to the Times Square, not in Astoria. Airbnb probably did not exist in 2003. My niece came from Prague to 'take care' of me but she was actually not needed, my recovery was quite easy and after a week or so, we could return to Florida where I lived at that time.

    Nice story that may help this 'industry'.

    I agree with AACNY (see below or above) that this should NOT be regulated by any authority of the New York State or the City. Airbnb seems to take good care in selection of proper guests and, anyway, the authorities would not be involved in that part of the business.

    BTW, I stay last year in a Manhattan hotel but they did not keep my reservation for a late arrival. They shipped me to another hotel and all kind of fights who should pay for what started. Eventually it got resolved. And I was 79 last year and after a long flight from LAX.

    New York hotels need some viable competition, that's for sure.

    Good luck, Mr. Naess and have more nice guests...

  85. btw, Airbnb does nothing to 'select proper guests'. All Airbnb requires is that guests provide a valid phone number, email address and have a Paypal acount from which payment can be deducted/held in advance of their visit to the host's home. But beyond that Airbnb does nothing to ensure the guest will be clean, responsible or not just a plain weirdo. It's up to the hosts to look at guests' past reviews from other hosts (and unfortunately many guests are Airbnb first-timers and have NO Reviews), for the host to ask questions of the potential guest, look at their photo, see what the guest says in their own profile, and most importantly, see how the guest communicates with me. There have been many Airbnb guests who I chose NOT to accept. I am very particular about who I am going to allow into my one-bedroom apartment to share with me for a week or so.

  86. Such a great solution for visiting overly expensive New York. I hope it doesn't get washed out by regulation. And what a wonderful way to make friends from other countries. Kudos to BNB for bringing this to New York City.

  87. Until you're the one who needs that regulation?

  88. I am not sure I would keep a sword on the wall with strangers coming to my apartment!

  89. And I'm not sure how I would get my regular job done if I spent as much time as he seems to tending to what appears to be not an occasional guest but a constant stream of them, all of whom have their breakfast prepared by him.

  90. I would stay at Mr. Naess's place in a heartbeat, but I am used to a king sized bed. That bed looked small. So I would have to leave my husband home.

  91. I was wondering how he gets two guests into that bed, unless he stacks them. Could be camera distortion, but it looks like a twin to me.

  92. This all sounds great, but what if you live in a high rise rental apartment in Manhattan (like me) when the elevators are filled with foreign tourists rolling in large suitcases, clogging the lobby, the doormen and the hallways, maids walking thru halls changing beds, etc? This has recently been happening in my building when a large number of private apartments were taken over as "corporate" and sub-leased to visitors (original owners not present as host). This is no one-man operation.

    Fortunately it has stopped due to other tenant complaints. But even if visitors sub-rent an apartment, they can easily disturb, even frighten the rest of the tenants who also pay to live there but receive no profit from this.

  93. Seems to me one forfeits the right to complain about overcrowding and noise when they choose to live in NYC. Just one view from the backward hinterlands.

  94. To Matthew: this may surprise you, but even in NYC, we don't like people treating our homes like hotels, and my building is my home. My co-op outlaws this, but it's no surprise, as I know and get along with my neighbors, and we treat each other with courtesy. Just like the hinterlands.

  95. It is astounding that so many people from the hinterlands who, no doubt, live in private homes, think there should be no problem for NYers to live with a constant stream of strangers in their hallways, all of whom have been given keys to their building.

    These buildings are our homes. We live here. We would prefer that everyone who has keys to the building has either been vetted by the building management or that the apartment owner knows personally.

    There is simply no equivalent in a private home, so if you are not from NYC, you know not of what you speak.

  96. How many hosts and guests did the New York Times have to go to find these perfect people and situations reflecting the epitome of Airbnb transactions?

    Probably not many. Airbnb's interactive process of reviews, photographs, and the website's impeccable housing & location searches are nearly flawless to scoring great interactions such as this.

    A few months ago, a friend and I stayed in a gorgeously decorated bungalow in Atlanta's Inman park neighborhood. For the cost of ONE room at a barely 3-star hotel, we enjoyed an entire 2-floor house. We saw the owner (who lived elsewhere in the city) once during our entire stay, and she was every bit the wonderful host her previous reviewers said she is.

    Let's stop all this talk about taxes and regulations. We contributed to Atlanta's economy by spending well over a couple thousand dollars during our week-long trip on food, shopping, sightseeing, museum admissions, used-book stores, grocery store runs, an upgraded rental car, and a couple trips to spas all based on our savings. We wouldn't have stayed as long or spent even a third as much had all our money been spent on two stale hotel rooms.

  97. Some business wins (restaurants, stores, etc.) and some business loses (hotels). It is not a win-win scenario.

  98. I think you and other tourists overestimate your contribution to the local economy.

  99. If this is done by private individuals in a manner consistent with the law, fine. They pay a price in loss of privacy and their whole life has to be adjusted for this money stream they crave. But I have seen way too many building owners do this with vacant apartments, rather than renting them out. They sacrifice nothing while putting residents at risk and putting the guests at risk too because the apartments lack the required egress facilities, among other violations. NYPD has been very helpful in getting these greedy people out of the hotel business and back into the apartment rental business, which their building is zoned for. Poor babies! They will have to suffer through with thousands a month instead of thousands a week. How much money do building owners want these days? The rent charges are already a huge order of magnitude above the cost to run a building. Shame on them.
    http://emcphd.wordpress.com

  100. Lovely, I just found a place for my European friends to stay when they come to NYC.

  101. I would be more afraid of someone bringing bedbugs into my apartment than I would be of thievery and murder.

  102. I'm surprised by all the positive comments. I can't imagine anything worse than staying with strangers or hosting them in a small New York apartment. As a guest, I personally want total anonymity and lots of quiet. All that interaction sounds awful to me!

    Mr. Naess seems to be a great host and he really earns his money. Luckily, he has the energy and personality to make this work; I'm exhausted just reading about his full time job, Airbnb hosting and morning run. However, if I were a neighbor in his building, I would not want a parade of strangers staying there and I would worry about travelers bringing bed bugs.

  103. My wife thought the same way before we became hosts. It certainly isn't for everyone, but it really isn't very much work. With some guests we see them all the time-- and others barely at all. I guess it works well if you like other people... And luckily we do-- after all, they are our species!

  104. I haven't yet used it for a booking, but airbandb also has a category "whole place" where you can look at renting an entire apartment or vacation house to yourself. A lot of people would be more comfortable with this idea.

    Vacation listings with real estate agents and online outfits like Homeaway tend to be priced considerably higher than the ones I have seen on airbandb for the entire house. I guess that one reason is that some people are more deeply wedded to the idea that their vacation house should pay for itself with continual, high paying guests. There are expensive places on airbandb, but there are a lot that would surprise people with lower costs, too.

    It is abundantly clear to me, at least around where I live, that people have trouble meeting others outside of work or, perhaps, church. Friendship, even on a temporary, superficial level, is very important, part of good health and a decent life. If you can't meet people, how do you have friends?

    One measure short of renting out a spare room that I have heard of is the idea of having people in your house for a paid dinner once a week or once a month. Sounds like something that would be fun if you don't mind cooking. In our house, we talked about it and planned to do it, then never moved forward on the idea.

    http://terryreport.com

  105. Yes, AirBnB is a lovely, fuzzy, feel-good idea. The owners of the site, who care nothing about the legal problems that befall their hosts, are also making gobs of money off this warm and cozy thing. The hosts are also making money - as the article points out, they are paid.

    This brings me to my main gripe: the term "sharing economy". I think the tech industry just coined this term to make services like AirBnB sound more brotherly and generous than they are. This is NOT a sharing economy, although that term does make the whole thing seem better, which is precisely why they use it. It is a bare-bones exchange market operation - they offer rooms/lodging, and people pay for it. Classic market/capitalist structure. So let's top pretending there is any "sharing" going on.

  106. Probably the first story (and most likely the last) that I've read about Air B&B and one of its hosts that works in a positive manor. The host; Mr. Naess, appears to be doing everything perfectly. He appears to be delivering a great accommodation, he is within state laws (primary occupant resides on the premises) and following federal tax guidelines for earned income.

    Great story all around, but let's be honest, it still doesn't eliminate the horrible abuse within Air B&B like my idiot neighbors who leave for days or weeks at a time and does not know the people that are "renting" from them.

    I also find it interesting that many folks on here (you know, the liberals) are all for government intervention is most aspects of life, yet with this, something that should be heavily regulated, everyone's like "who cares, we need this, keys for everyone" Good grief.

  107. I wonder how this man's neighbors feel about endless strangers and their luggage parading through their apartment building week after week after week.

    But hey, he's earning money and paying off a property he couldn't afford, so who cares about anyone else's comfort, right?

  108. Why do you assume the worse? Why are his guests more likely to " parade " than other visitors to the building? Answer: they aren't.

  109. Why do I have a feeling that Mr. Naess is not going to be renting out his spare bedroom anymore? This article probably did him and those who might have been able to stay in his "beautiful room" a disservice. I wonder if the room is still available on Aibnb? I have never used Airbnb, but in the last three years enjoyed the two apartments that I rented in Paris through a similar service. Most travelers to expensive cities such as London, Paris or NYC spend little time making a racket in their rooms or apartments because they are too busy seeing the sights or shopping. I hope Airbnb and other similar businesses thrive in coming years and are not shut down or subjected to onerous regulations.

  110. What Mr. Naess is doing is not illegal at all, so there is no reason he wouldn't continue I have success...

  111. It just seems ludicrous that people wouldn't have the right to rent out a room in their own home if they wanted too. This just sounds like another example of the powers of special interest in this country.

  112. They are renting the room - AND the common areas shared by other tenants in the building (stairs, elevators, laundry rooms, lobbies, halls, roof decks if their is one, etc.) . I'm not sure you have many 20, 30, 40 story high rises in Bellevue WA, etc.

  113. Lori - I don't go across the lake to Bellevue much, but here in Seattle we certainly have plenty of high-rise condo buildings. How are a handful of people affecting the use of elevators, lobbies, etc compared to the hundreds of people living there? It seems like a drop in the bucket to me...

  114. It's not a "handful." Often someone gets blocks of apartments and rents them out. During peak times, summer and holidays, I have been in the elevator with these visitors frequently, almost every trip, and I see them check into our lobby a few times a day.

  115. I'm exhausted just reading about that business. On top of his full-time job and his marathon training.

  116. Did I miss something - ?

    Nowhere in the article did I see mention the issue of insurance and liability...

    What would happen if one of Mr. Naess' "guests" were to slip on the wet bathroom floor and suffer a serious injury -- or forget to turn off the faucet, resulting in an overflow and water damage to the apartment below ?

    Does Naess provide every guest with a list of emergency phone numbers, and instructions on what to do and how to escape in case of a fire ?

    Does he have and maintain the requisite smoke and carbon monoxide alarms ?

    If a "visiting" couple happen to cause a fire while cooking one of their gourmet dinners - which caused damage and/or injury to themselves or others in the building - could he be held liable ?

    Assuming, for the moment, that Mr. Naess' little enterprise is in violation of any number of NYC housing regulations as well as those of his co-op board (if not downright illegal) - how would he manage to find an insurance company to indemnify him against liability in the above-mentioned cases...?

    To use a classic bon mot -

    This seems like an accident waiting to happen...

  117. Yes, I think insurance could be a major issue if something happened. They always say to check with your insurer (tenants or homeowners policy) to find out about whether your liability coverage covers this, but I wonder how many people do, and I wonder how much a liability rider, if needed, costs.

  118. If an accident happens in his apartment...a little flood from an overflowing sink...or a fire...I'm sure it would be just as if he the host caused the accident: an unfortunate accident. Last I heard building tenants weren't held 'liable' for simple accidents?

    Also, thankfully most Airbnb guests come from outside the litigious U.S. of A., and so if they 'slip on the bathroom' floor, what would happen is they would go to the hospital and that would be the end of it. No 'lawsuit'. Airbnber's understand that life happens and that life is an adventure and both hosts and guests equally understand that Airbnb is a fascinating journey and that sometimes things may not go perfectly. But we'd much prefer that than some bland 'safe' hotel designed for the unthinking masses. ;-)

  119. The same could be said of any roommate situation.

  120. We have used Air BNB several times, and we absolutely love it. We will probably not travel any other way in the future. And we have met some great hosts along the way. Air BNB is a great option for folks who can't afford the outrageous prices that hotels charge.

  121. To the issue of the "never-ending parade of people" in this man's building, as many here have stated--practically every building in NYC has this on a daily basis. If you live in, say, a large, high-rise building in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, etc., do you monitor the friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, repair people, cleaning ladies/cleaning services, etc. coming and going to neighbors' apartments each day/night? And doesn't it stand to reason that these guests are coming to NYC to be out-and-about each day (to sight-see, shop, dine out, go to the theater, just walk about, etc.)-- they didn't travel all this way just to sit in someone's apt all day! So they use his apartment as a place to return-to/sleep/relax each night--how exactly is that different than the neighbor who frequently entertains at home, often has friends/BFs/GFs over? Why are the airbnb guests any more likely to cause a ruckus/problem than any other guest visiting the building at any given time? If anything, the airbnb visitors have more of an incentive to be ideal and model guests because they want hosts like Mr. Naess to leave positive reviews on their airbnb profiles.

  122. Do friends bring huge suitcases? Roam the halls? Make excessive use of doormen? Do these friends "live" there for days at a time? And so on.....

  123. Precisely. But you know how it is....there's a certain portion of the society that automatically things 'strangers = danger'. Add to that the sensationalized verbage of the A.G. and the hotel industry about 'potential prostitution, wild parties, drugs, theft, illegal activity' etc., and is it any wonder they've managed to turn so many against Airbnb? Funny however that people think nothing of forking over hundreds of dollars to sleep in hotel beds where hundreds of other 'strangers' have slept, where illicit sex has likely occurred, drugs been done, the occasional murder, etc. But of course the hotels act swiftly to clean up all evidence of such acts in their rooms, and in the news. So when you arrive to your $300/night hotel room, everything looks perfectly 'sanitized' (though as anyone who's perceptive knows, the cleanings of hotel rooms are generally very rudimentary and all about 'appearances'....not true cleanliness).

  124. Wonderful example of small businesses being successful! Great idea and fantastic hospitality!

  125. Allowing strangers into one's home on a regular basis cannot end well. This is for people who are truly insane!

  126. Middle-class world travelers? Regular folks? Everyone's a stranger until you spend a bit of time together. Not an insane situation by any means.

  127. "Some things to know about hosts. By and large, they do not accept strangers in their homes because they relish phenomenal amounts of company or washing soiled bedsheets. They do it for the money."

    I'm not sure if the writer of this article is taking artistic license or of the host interviewed indicated that he hosts purely for the money. But for those of you who read the article, does this sound like a host who does it solely for the money?

    Obviously no one hosts because they like doing endless laundry. And sure the money helps pay the bills. But for many of us Airbnb hosts who are HOME with our guests (not just renting a spare empty apartment), we indeed enjoy the sharing aspect, doting on people, helping them with directions, what to do, learning about other cultures, etc.

    I think Airbnb needs to figure out a way to only have hosts who provide personal 1:1 oversight of their guests, and not allow rentals of empty apartments. THOSE rentals are 'purely for the money'. But for hosts who are sharing their primary residence, it is about so much more than the money.

  128. Too true. We do it for the money AND because we have a genuine interest in meeting and interacting with people from all over the world. I've been a host for nearly 3 years and treasure my time with guests while making ends meet to pay my rent. It's win win.

  129. '...It's win win...'

    For you.

    The heck with everyone else, right?

  130. Then do not accept money and just have house guests.

    Sound good to all who like to call renting out a bedroom 'sharing'?

  131. We join Airbnb last year. We've done one international trip and one domestic trip booking through them. Both experiences were great. We don't plan to book hotels when we travel for the foreseeable future.

  132. I lived in NY in another lifetime--downtown, then in Brooklyn, before moving to a different continent. My kid was born in Manhattan, but never lived there. We'd been back, but the kid had been too little to remember. I wanted to show the kid NYC, and we rented an AirBnB apartment in Brooklyn. It was fantastic. Kids need to sleep more than adults, and in a little hotel room, everybody has to go to bed at the same time. Or you have to get a separate room for the kid, which no normal parent would ever do. With a whole apartment, however modest, you can put the kid to bed early and the parents can stay up and sip wine and check emails. Or you have to be as rich as Croesus or a hedge fund manager to afford a hotel suite. For us, on a very humble budget, AirBNB was the only thing between saying "Yes, we will visit NYC this year!" and "No, we can't do it." If we had to stay in a hotel, the result would have been, no NYC visit, thus hurting all the other establishments we visited during our stay.
    Seriously, AirBnB is the only way for the 99% to be able to afford to have a vacation in NYC.
    We almost never saw our host, which was fine for us. But I must admit Mr. Naess sounds extremely charming!

  133. It amazes me that two parents could not share a hotel room with their one child.

  134. To reader in Washington DC - of course two parents _can_ share a hotel room with one child. I've done it many times (actually, with two children). But that also means either going to bed ridiculously early, or finding ways to amuse oneself without either noise or light. (My kids are older now , but I remember many an evening spent sitting on a hotel bathroom floor with a book, so as not to wake said kids.) Suites or apartments are _much_ more pleasant, if you have kids who need to go to bed early.

  135. A bit off point of this article, Air B N B is born out of the faltering economy and the astronomical room rates at hotels just about everywhere and especially in NYC, where 200$ a night barely gets you a clean comfortable space. The resistance and legal threats here in NY are fueled by the greedy hotel industry which sees shrinking revenues, and NY States desire to collect more taxes. The irony is Air B n B is good for NY's economy as many who might not otherwise be able to afford a visit now can. Let's hope NY state does not drown the baby with the bathwater.

  136. '...The irony is Air B n B is good for NY's economy as many who might not otherwise be able to afford a visit now can...'

    Because NYC is desperate for tourists, right?

  137. '...The irony is Air B n B is good for NY's economy as many who might not otherwise be able to afford a visit now can...'

    If you cannot afford a $200 a night hotel room, you will hardly be in a position to help the NYC economy, which is doing just fine without you.

    But thanks for the thought.

  138. My girlfriend and I stayed in AirBnB and VRBO homes exclusively during our trip to Italy last fall. We're past the hostel stage of our lives. It was a month of travel, and we never paid more than 90 Euros per night, with our most expensive place located near Positano. AirBnB made it possible to take a great trip, and we spent more at restaurants and museums because our budget wasn't as tight.

    I understand people's concerns about taxes, but shouldn't that be an issue for auditors? I understand people's concerns about damage to their building, but why is that an issue if people haven't caused damage? If you signed something that says you can't host short term renters, then you shouldn't, and your condo board should go after you if you do. But, if you didn't sign anything to that effect, then what is the issue?

    We'll be back in Manhattan for two weeks this September, at $320 per night. It'll be our last trip to New York, I'm afraid.

  139. When the owner of my large, doorman building in Manhattan (it has thousands of apts. in large & small buildings all over Manhattan) starting renting to tourists for a week or so, a permanent tenant complained, city officials went after owner & the practice stopped (at least on rentals of less than a month).

    However, it is hard to find good long-term tenants in average buildings in Manhattan - apartments are often rented for just 6 or 12 months, & the people who rent them, perhaps because they know they aren't staying very long, or perhaps because their parents or employer pays their rent, behave any way they want. I have had ongoing noise issues with groups of 20-something frat "bros" who think nothing of inviting hundreds of people to a party that doesn't even start until 10 or 11 & goes on from there. The last time this happened I called the police. Owners are loathe to evict as long as people pay the rent, because eviction is a long & costly process & finding a quieter tenant willing to pay $3k or $4k a month for an ordinary apartment is tough. In another case a "robin hood" type rescuer intent on saving a kid from the projects rented him a $3500 a month apt. across the hall from me so the kid could find a respectable job. Instead the kid found a boyfriend & sat around playing loud music & smoking dope.

    So sometimes tourists don't sound so bad.

    Also, paying guests have been a godsend for some seniors whose "stabilized" rents are now 75 or 80% of their income.

  140. No one has to live in NYC.

  141. Hi Kevin,

    As a proud AirBnb host, I invite you to take a look at the listings available for September-- I'm positive you can find a much, much better value. We are already booked through September, but there are still amazing places to be found at a fraction of the price of your hotel.

  142. NYC's unique circumstances always seem to disproportionately characterize the deficiencies of services like Airbnb or Uber. Everyone wants to live on a tiny, pricey island and then complain that predictable shortages of things like hotel rooms and taxis are the fault of presumptive, greedy startups.

    Honestly, I hope all the awful hotel establishments that can't compete with Airbnb get driven out of the city. Also, who doesn't love the irony of big corporate interests demanding protection from competition because, oh!, onerous hotel regulations are important and essential!

  143. Though no fan myself of the big corporate chain hotels, I suggest you keep in mind that before calling public/personal safety regulations like fire escapes and sprinkers "onerous" you might think about the lack of those two - and other important yet missing benefits when you stay in someone's extra bedroom on the upper floor of an old apartment building.

  144. While I see the merits of AirBnB, Vrbo etc, I see the point of neighbors who rightly object to dealing with a constant influx of mini-tenants with no ties to the building or neighborhood. Having rented an apartment for a week I can attest (to my embarrassment) that my companions had little regard for the other tenants in terms of noise.

  145. These are all strangers. There is no hotel security. How does he know some of these people are not thieves, or worse? This whole story activates all my paranoia. Continued good luck to Mr. Naess.

  146. You should have more faith in your fellow humans. Thankfully the bad seeds are a variety small minority in this world.

  147. "This whole story activates all my paranoia." Well I guess that explains it...why you see all strangers as 'dangerous....

  148. Honestly? News Flash: Human beings are mostly inherently good to one another. The bad apples are few compared to the collective bunch.

  149. Yet another reason the NYC housing market is insane...people would rather maximize profit by turning their extra room into a parade of strangers instead of renting it out to someone at a reasonable rate.

    I would not be pleased if I lived next door to Mr. Naess and knew that strangers were coming and going constantly, undoubtedly getting spare keys to the building, etc....

  150. I know where I'm staying next time I'm in town.

  151. 72 strangers means at least 72 additional keys to the apartment building. It also means that security for Mr. Naess's fellow tenants is not so great. Think what would happen if 5 more of his neighbors did the same thing...or ten.. Yet offering a room while the "host" is present is the least innocuous of the Airbnb offerings. It is much more of a problem when the host is absent and the entire apartment rented out.

    The millions of dollars in hotel taxes Airbnb is willing to collect will not compensate for associated losses. Thousands of apartments have been taken out of New York’s available Class 1 residential housing stock due to Airbnb. Sure, Airbnb has been reported as taking care of those hosts who ended up hosting prostitution rings and theives by replacing apartment locks and cleaning up the home, but no mention of replacing the door keys for the whole apartment building! They are not compensating neighbors for lost productivity in school and work due to sleepiness. They are not compensating landlords who spent thousands of dollars evicting Airbnb hosts who don't live in these apartments.

    Personally, I have no desire to live in an apart-hotel and thats what the Airbnb hosts are forcing their neighbors to do, with no choice in the matter.

    It is clear Airbnb's marketers are going full out...reaching out to the media and feeding them their side of it....this article and recent articles and TV coverage proves that.

    I just don't buy it.

  152. I don't participate in AirBnB but I do host couch surfers. I've had close to 200 people stay with me. I've given them all keys. The keys I gave my first couch surfer four years ago I gave to my last surfer a week ago. The keys have never been lost (knock on wood). They have always behaved and I have yet to hear from a complaint from anyone in my building. I doubt anyone in my building even knows I often have guests, not even those in the apartments next to mine.

  153. Fed employee: '...The keys have never been lost...'

    Or copied? How would you know?

    If the building entered at a later time and some of the tenants robbed or even worse, this gentlemen should be sued for every dime he has.

  154. In my 40 years or so in NY, the people most likely to be copying or otherwise misusing keys are building employees or contractors/workers engaged by the building or its residents.

    Something interesting I have observed recently in rental buildings is the following: It is traditional in rental buildings for owner to be responsible for lower lock (have to pay to fix if it breaks), to have a copy of that key, and to have tenant give him/her a copy if tenant chooses to change it.

    Traditionallly, the upper lock (the deadbolt) is installed and maintained by tenant. Once one tenant moves out the next tenant usually has had a new cylinder installed in that lock.

    In my building if a tenant moves out and doesn't take the cylinder of the upper lock with him/her, the building would remove it and replace it with something like plaster of paris until a new tenant moved in and had a new cylinder put in. Recently I have noticed that new tenants don't even bother with an upper lock -- that is, they don't get a new cylinder -- they leave the plaster of paris or maybe just a hole. They just use the lower lock (and some don't even bother locking that) with no regard for the fact that goodness knows how many people have had keys to that.

    So it is difficult for me to perceive a threat from airbnb guests that is much different from the half-witted habits of most regular residents.

  155. I've had about 200 strangers stay at my place from 41 countries the past 4 years. Didn't charge a single one a dime. Couchsurfing: the cheap person's version of airbnb Highly recommend it.

  156. I applaud this and you know what? Totally legal!!

  157. Did you give each and every one of them keys to your building, as well as to your apartment?

  158. NYC should welcome Airbnb and its alternatives as yet another contributor to the local tourist economy. Given high hotel rents, most of the renters are likely to be net additions to the tourist trade, and aside from their lower hotel payment those visitors will still buy food, transport, entertainment and products, a large net gain for NYC's economy (besides helping to maintain overall high real estate prices). I would also think Naess and other home renters of New York are also likely to help create favorable impressions of and repeat visits to the city, further helping the tourist board. And Mr. Naess gets to increase his income and survive better in the place he wants to live. Seems like a lot of value is being created across the board. Yes, they should pay taxes (apparently Airbnb is trying to accomplish this), but mostly the governmental opposition seems to be tied to hotel and hotel union lobbies, who prefer their current oligopoly against the interests of homeowners and tenants trying to supplement their incomes. The bed and breakfast concept is well established almost everywhere, and helps the entire community. If DeBlasio and NYC want to support the 99%, they should consider all the homeowners and tenants who could use a little extra income, and all the money they will help add to NYC's tourist income.

  159. NYC does not need any more tourist income. We can't seem to keep them out, they just keep coming.

    And if you do not see the problem in living in an apartment building where one of the tenants hands out keys to the building to dozens of strangers every year, then perhaps you might if your neighbor held parties in your backyard.

  160. We own a hot springs resort in the Costa Rican rainforest and we are Airbnb hosts. I first read about Airbnb on the NYT Travel section and signed up to rent our casitas and Tree House, with free use of our hot springs. We pay sales taxes to the Costa Rican government, income taxes in the US as a small business and as US citizens, and go to great lengths to make a great experience for guests, including giving them a lot of information about coming to a new country. Contrary to the comments that the host's story about enjoying their guests is probably an anatomy, virtually every one of our Airbnb guests has been charming and friendly, some becoming friends, and virtually all have loved their experience here. Where is the problem? New York city and other large city apartment owners may face different problems, especially if they don't pay taxes. But since when is it inappropriate for either hosts or Airbnb itself to gain a profit for a service that consumers love? Small business or micro-businesses are to be applauded for their initiative and creativity, and believe me, our Airbnb guests contribute a lot to the local economy, including jobs for local people. And it's still a recession out there, so people are looking for bargains. If hotels don't "get it" and lower their prices, whose problem is that?

  161. Airbnb, VRBO, Onefinestay, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar all "share" a couple of things in common. Substantial venture capital;
    a contempt for legitimate regulation; and a competitive advantage vis a vis "traditional" suppliers of the services they provide because of the new companies' willingness to ignore the law.

  162. Reading all the pro-Airbnb comments reveals the extent and reach of the popular anti-government and anti-regulation movement sweeping our society. Yes the hotels are expensive because they pay union wages, business taxes and many other costs. So many folks are against these regulations until their life is saved by the fire alarm or fire department (that is partially funded by taxes paid by, yes, the regulated hotels.

    Also, while picking on the cost of hotels, why isn't mention made of the other costs of NYC - taxis, parking, restaurants, etc.?

  163. Airbnb hosts are working for themselves, so the union point is irrelevant. As to business taxes, they are subject to income taxes. The only question is one of sales and occupancy taxes. It seems reasonable to exempt them from these taxes, as they are not full-fledged businesses, and the cost/administrative burden of collection probably outweighs the net benefit, particularly since many of these travelers might not otherwise visit.

  164. For those concerned about taxes - how about we get the city to offer individual AirBnB hosts a tax break, since surely they are beefing up tourism by offering more affordable accommodations than expensive hotels!

  165. I agree, NYC totally needs tax breaks to attract tourists.

  166. I like the environmental aspect of this. A lot of cities have empty or half-empty apartments (one person in a two-bedroom place) that are close to the city while others are forced to commute up to two hours each way from the outskirts of the city. If more travelers use AirBnb/pensione style accommodation, less inner-city space is needed for hotels and more can be allocated to apartments for the city workers to cut down on their commute.
    We stayed at pensiones all through Croatia and I can't even recall seeing hotels there.

  167. '...A lot of cities have empty or half-empty apartments...'

    Not in this city, where most people live in 400 sf or less.

    This owner decided he wanted a two bedroom apt that he could not afford and has turned it into a hotel room.

    Let's see how his neighbors feel about that.

  168. As Hosts and customers of Airbnb, we still have to jump through every legal and zoning hoop to get open and running. The service is expensive for guests, but it is a wonderful thing for us who operate. If New Yorkers have to fight to get the rules changed, that's your business or not. I can say with most of our guests, they have been good ones. This is more of an extended family than a web service, and we appreciate it. There are newer, more efficient services coming on line, and we'll try them as well.

  169. Exactly. Being part of the AirBnb community had been awesome for my wife and I. We have hosted over 200 people in our apartment over the course of the last year and a half-- and have made some amazing friends. We love NYC, and are grateful to be able to share our enthusiasm for it with people from across the globe.

  170. My friend in Atlanta is getting evicted form his building for this very thing. If someone in my building was renting to strangers on a rotating basis, I would be extremely annoyed. Not everyone wants to live in a hotel/condo.

  171. I'd be curious as to what Mr. Naess's neighbors think about the parade of strangers coming and going from his apartment. Any objections to those 2am arrivals?

  172. Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore. It is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

  173. All this sounds great for the owner's checkbook but how do his neighbors feel about having a new group of strangers every week? Are the earnings subject to federal, state taxes?

  174. I don't understand what the neighbor's opinions have to do with this? The neighbor's aren't hosting them, meeting, greeting or chatting with them and least of all giving them a real NY experience with insider tips and a positive take-home experience of living as and being with an American. As described, guests are rarely around. If they arrive at midnight, they usually enter so quietly a neighbor wouldn't even know. (Or else the writer of the article might have added some complaints from the neighbor). If the kids have gone off to college and moved out, why should I just let their rooms sit empty. Why not meet and greet people and yes, make some extra money too. And what else the neighbors don't get is the wonderful experience of meeting all these interesting people. Sorry, but hotels will never give a traveler an authentic experience or feel of living in a place. And if you stayed in someone's house, used their home, linens, towels, kitchen and utilities, wouldn't you think it fare that there is a cost to this which hosts pay TAX on? About people who are renting out places without ever "really" living there …. well that is another story and I am not sure I agree with that.
    And as long as I am writing, I DO believe airbnb should assist the hosts in collecting the "Hotel Tax" to be turned into the city.

  175. Yes, as the article says all income is reported and taxable. Why should the neighbors care or have a right to dictate who he has in HIS apartment when he is there?? None of us have the right to screen our neighbors' guests -- regardless of the context.

  176. '...what else the neighbors don't get is the wonderful experience of meeting all these interesting people...'

    The neighbors do 'get' this, as they get to meet these strangers in the lobbies and elevators of their building.

    What about the phrase 'common areas' do those who live in private house not understand?

    Here goes: Anyone who has keys to the apartment building can roam the entire building at will. All the hallways, the laundry room, the roof deck, if there is one...all are wide open to anyone with a key.

    Get it?

  177. My husband and I left Seattle last July to travel Europe for a year and have only stayed in airbnb apartments (minus a miserable night in a hostel in Milan) and can recommend our experience as exceptional! We could not do this without airbnb. We've been to ten countries and stayed in 23 homes. We go the 'entire home' route, but I can see how fun it would be to stay with Mr. Naess! Please support airbnb and it's community.

  178. the Attorney General has lost my support as a 19 year long New Yorker, it is beyond reason why the State is going after the little guy while Wall Street bankers and traders who steal billions go unpunished, leave airbnb hosts and guests alone and grow up and accept the new modern economy

  179. I love AirBnB - such a great business model! As long as people are respectful on both sides, it works well. I used it traveling through Europe in the fall and it was fabulous. The naysayers are simply going to have to get over it; it's how we travel now...deal or get therapy! ;)

  180. Sounds great. Glad he's not living next door to me.

  181. Are you serious? After reading that article, why you would object to having this awesome guy as a neighbor? Yes, he had guests to his home, but lots of people have friends and guests over-- and in most of those cases there is far less objective vetting going on ...

  182. The tax man cometh ! It is all taxable - but you can deduct expenses. Make sure you have good guest insurance.

  183. On my trips to New York City, I've been hosted in Bay Ridge, Riverdale and Hunts Point with great satisfaction. Where else but with Airbnb can you find intimate access to diverse and uncommonly known areas to outsiders such as those? As a traveller, nowhere.

  184. This is an excellent point I don't think I've heard mentioned before? Maybe the solution is to only allow Airbnb in the outer boroughs, away from chain hotel competition?

  185. Oh Oh. After this article, that guest room will be booked forever and I'll never get in.

  186. Not to worry Vox-- there are plenty of us hosts out here in NYC that offer service on par with the host featured in this article. :)

  187. This was a really well-written story. It's the first I've heard of this service. I better check it out before the AG gets his way.

  188. A friend and I used Airbnb in Puerto Vallarta a couple of years ago, and it was one of the worst travel experiences we ever had. I would never recommend using it and never will again. Mr. Naess's guests are much luckier than we were. He sounds like he's the ideal host.

  189. This place you rented...did it have previous customer reviews? Otherwise you are always taking a risk. I hope you left a negative review for other potential guests to see and reported the problems to Airbnb? How did you 'screen the host', or did you simply rent the place because of some 'fancy photos'? You always need to read between the lines whether you are a host or guest, to determine what the person is really like.

  190. When you get the taste for Airbnb, Chambredhotes in France, Agriturismo in Spain & Italy, then hotel use by comparison seems empty and wasteful. Forget pricing, BnB wins hands down on human contact and local knowledge.
    VG article.

  191. Lovely fun article. The pace matches the real pace...

  192. No place like New York!

  193. Not all airbnb hosts do it for the money! I know many who do it because they love sharing the city and being an amazing host.

  194. Then they should just have house guests.

    Oh, that won't work, because they are doing it for the money.

  195. Hosts who want to share the city and just enjoy being a host could do so for free on Couch Surfing. The only reason to do Airbnb instead is obviously for the cash.

  196. Mr Naess sounds like a phenomenal host.

  197. I demand that all stories in the NYT be written by N.R. Kleinfield. As I was reading this piece and noticing how good the writing and the rhythm were I knew I had to look up the byline after I was finished. Well, no surprise, there it was, the old, reliable N.R. Kleinflield. The best.

  198. I love it. Government & hoteliers are just raging that their overpriced cash cows are being challenged. Isn't this the definition of capitalism?

  199. I think Mr. Naess may be hooked by another girlfriend soon. He sounds like a catch!

    Book that room while it's still available.

  200. This guy will be target numero uno for the NY AG Eric Schneiderman.

  201. you are probably right, but I hope you are not ~ the other one who will go after him is state senator liz kruger.

  202. I don't think so. What he is doing isn't against the law.

  203. Yes the State of New York and its money grubbing little fingers looking for the cookie jar so corrupt politicians can get their "end". Picking up the sales tax on tourist purchases just isn't enough...

  204. Disruption!
    just as services such as Uber are disrupting Taxicab Cartels, Airbnb is disrupting the Hotel Industry - another a cash cow for ravenous governments.

    The future of travel - and many other established business models - is looking more and more horizontal, less and less vertical.

  205. This guy is special. I'm not sure I could work and be so upbeat with strangers........

  206. Adored the writer, adored the story, AND the apt. owner and the lucky guests he's had. wonderful writing, wonderful fun, wish he had a 3rd b.r. so we could stay there in May and that the apt. were in Manhattan. High reading point of the day!

  207. Thanks for the delightful article!

  208. I wonder if the regulations and business taxes are why B&Bs in the US have to go out of their way to be froo-froo, to justify the prices they have to charge to operate. B&Bs I've used in parts of Canada and Europe are a lot more like the homestays Mr Naess is operating, budget-conscious first and foremost, and a little more privacy than a hostel. Although he actually socializes a bunch more than the B&B people that I have stayed with in the past.

  209. As a Nu Yawk native, I kvell for Mr. Naess. When I lived in The City, I carried a card which proclaimed "Bon Vivant, Humanist, Raconteur, and PRINCE OF NEW YORK which I gave to people who I found wandering our streets with a map and a puzzled expression. Sometimes our interchange took only a few seconds, other times I would spend days showing them around the city..at no cost. I applaud anyone who helps welcome travelers to The City. Once, as I was walking on the north side of 57th Street near 7th Avenue, an Englishman approached me and asked "Where is Carnegie Hall?" I immediately asked him to rephrase the question: "Would you mind asking me How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?" He looked at me as if I was mad, which may be true, but complied. Naturally, having waiting a lifetime for the setup, I replied " Practice! Practice!" before indicating that Carnegie Hall was directly across the street.

  210. And?? Did he laugh? (I hope.)

  211. Fabulous host and guests; we used Vrbo many times and had always wonderful time and the sense of community vs hotels..also, nothing beats the ability to wake up in a new place and make a delicious breakfast with the local ingredients...hurrah for aribnb,vrbo, homeaway etc

  212. Wonderful. There is a book here...a TV show...maybe even a wedding.

    This is America at its best, this is (only/first in) New York!

  213. No, it's not only/first in New York. Airbnb was started in, and it's corporate headquarters are in San Francisco. And there are Airbnb hosts in virtually every city and town all over the world.

  214. This might be the ONLY way for those who live in the five boroughs to afford living in our great city and state.
    I feel the state is NOT ENTITLED TO THE MONEY GENERATED BY AIRBNB. It is a political and money grab to go after innocent tenants, at the great expense of tourism, and the extreme high cost of living in New York.

  215. Then, my friend, it's banditry.

    It's income, and income must be declared. I am sure there are countries with different laws and AirBNB operates in them. Don't want to pay taxes? The solution is simple.

  216. I'm always confused by the fear of "strangers" in one's building. Unless a New Yorker lives in a co-op, he or she never gets the right to approve or disapprove of his or her neighbors. For that matter, if you're frightened by the thought that a paying guest could bring home a prostitute, what makes you think your neighbor isn't doing that? Suppose he has a hook-up with a stranger who doesn't take money; is that any better? Are you convinced that all of your neighbors have squeaky-clean apartments in which no bedbug could possibly enter? Most Airbnb hosts have to keep their apartments even cleaner than you keep yours; with so many hosts in the city, you won't get guests unless you have excellent reviews, and the system (unlike Yelp) can't be hacked. If I could choose my neighbors, I'd want to have Airbnb hosts on either side of me, and one across the hall.

  217. '...Suppose he has a hook-up with a stranger who doesn't take money; is that any better?...'

    If he has hook ups with fifty strangers every year *and* gives each of the a key to the building, which they can duplicate at will, plus roam wherever they wish, that is completely different.

  218. If a neighbor is a serious nuisance, it can be reported to building management and they can be evicted. Especially if it is open illegal activity.

  219. Lori: If I had a nickel for every time I've complained about a neighbor -- people having hundreds of people to raucous frat parties, people throwing cigarette butts and other garbage out their windows and onto my terrace (and in one case through my window), power babes stalking around on uncarpeted floors in 4-inch heels. Yes, the management warns them, but no, management rarely does anything beyond that (unless they are also failing to pay their rent) because eviction proceedings are lengthy and expensive.

  220. Great and it all makes perfect sense, better utilization of resources ... for everyone. Now only where is the IRS take?

  221. AirBnB issues 1099 forms and calculates the tax according to the income.

  222. Airbnb issues 1099s but I have never heard of any 1099 issuer calculating taxes for the recipient. Taxes of any person are based on total income and the bnb income reported on the Airbnb 1099 would presumably be added to other income of the recipient (salary, pensions, investments, interest, etc.) before taxes are determined.

  223. I have stayed in Airbnb lodgings in both Princeton NJ and Paris. In both cases I stayed in the home of a local single young woman. I had excellent experiences in both places.

    Without Airbnb, I could not have afforded my stay in Paris. And many people could not afford to visit NYC without the modest prices available from Airbnb. Who would benefit if such people stayed home?

    Oh, of course - - it's the 1% who would benefit - - those who can pay hundreds of dollars a night for a hotel room and not give it a second thought. I guess those of us from the lower 50% of income distribution have no right to a little recreation and travel.

  224. '...And many people could not afford to visit NYC without the modest prices available from Airbnb. Who would benefit if such people stayed home?.

    1. Good.

    2. Every NYer but the person making money by turning their building into a hotel.

  225. '...Who would benefit if such people stayed home?...'

    Every NYer.

  226. A particularly fascinating aspect of this new business model is for renters to rate the quality of those who rent rooms from Airbnb. Individuals who use the service have a basic incentive to be on their best behavior so they can continue to find rooms to rent on future trips.

    Also if this business model and Airbnb continues to thrive we may well begin to see some home buyers and also lenders factoring such income into their decisions. Further some especially older home owners using such income being able to continue to afford their their large homes after their children leave and their incomes decline.

    We may even see apartment buildings being built on speculation because the builders will be ale to rent out units for short periods using Aitbnb until they are able to get a buyer or full time renter wiling to pay a rice the builder finds attractive enough.

    Aibbnb is a simple and obvious idea that may have profound implications way beyond its immediate purpose. It can certainly prove be disruptive to the hotel industry.

  227. AH2 puts his finger on a very important aspect of the Airbnb model: the two-way reviews, with guests reviewing both the room/rooms and the host, and the host reviewing the guests. When you know that you'll be reviewed, either as a guest or a host, and you see the profile of your host or your guest, with photos of them, your natural instincts, are to treat the property as if you were a visiting or hosting a friend, even though you've never met! We've hosted scores of folks at our second home in Seattle for the last year and a half, and it's been a great experience. Folks from all over the world, often coming to Seattle for work or to viisit family. They've treated our home as if they were staying with old friends, often leaving flowers or wine. The house is almost always as clean and tidy as we we'd left it for them. My sense is that the online profiles and reviews underpin this experience, and make the possibility of unpleasant experiences for both guests and hosts very remote.

  228. 72 strangers means at least 72 additional keys to the apartment building. It also means that security for Mr. Naess's fellow tenants is not so great. Think what would happen if 5 more of his neighbors did the same thing...or ten.. Yet offering a room while the "host" is present is the least innocuous of the Airbnb offerings. It is much more of a problem when the host is absent and the entire apartment rented out.

    The millions of dollars in hotel taxes Airbnb is willing to collect will not compensate for associated losses. Thousands of apartments have been taken out of New York’s available Class 1 residential housing stock due to Airbnb. Sure, Airbnb has been reported as taking care of those hosts who ended up hosting prostitution rings and theives by replacing apartment locks and cleaning up the home, but no mention of replacing the door keys for the whole apartment building! They are not compensating neighbors for lost productivity in school and work due to sleepiness. They are not compensating landlords who spent thousands of dollars evicting Airbnb hosts who don't live in these apartments.

    Personally, I have no desire to live in an apart-hotel and thats what the Airbnb hosts are forcing their neighbors to do, with no choice in the matter.

    It is clear Airbnb's marketers are going full out...reaching out to the media and feeding them their side of it....this article and recent articles and TV coverage proves that.

  229. Oh quit being a whining New Yorker, always finding something about the neighbors to complain about. What if the guy lived in his two bedroom apartment with a wife and two children, and all four of them frequently had friends and relatives visit to eat meals, and to watch TV, and to do homework, and for birthday parties, etc. There would be the same amount of foot traffiic and noise in the building. Would you find something wrong with that too?

    You are just the kind of person who is always worried about what other people are doing, and will always find something that offends you. Maybe you should go live in your own house out in the country where you won't have to be bothered by the sights and sounds of other people living life around you. But you would probably complain about your neighbors' dog barking, or the birds that chirp in the trees in the morning.

  230. Mike Smith: '...What if the guy lived in his two bedroom apartment with a wife and two children, and all four of them frequently had friends and relatives visit...'

    And friends and relatives are not the same as strangers, plus very few people give out the keys to the building to all their friends and relatives.'

    You live in LA anyway, so while you have my sympathy, why do you care what happens in NYC?

  231. "72 strangers means at least 72 additional keys to the apartment building. It also means that security for Mr. Naess's fellow tenants is not so great." LT, you should rethink that statement. Mr. Naess doesn't need 72 additional keys; he only needs one extra set for guests.

  232. Naess's story doesn't seem that different from traditional bed-and-breakfast hosted places. They've been around for years. I used to stay in them till I had a few bad experiences, like the woman who was drying her clothes in the next room at 11 PM. We didn't have ratings then.

    The problem I have comes when people rent out their entire apartments and are not on the premises. You can have 6 to 8 people in a 2-bedroom apartment, which creates noise and wear and tear on the common areas. I've lived in a place where this was common and it was a nightmare - like living in a hotel without a manager. Guests would make noise, abuse the property, and arrive in the middle of the night. They'd jump up and down on floors. Some were not used to city living and didn't understand the concept of someone knocking on a door to say, "Please be quiet." If anyone complained, the owners would issue threats.

    I do wonder if Naess's neighbors have thoughts about the additional people. It's rare for an apartment - even a 2-bedroom - to have more than one or two people. If many people in his building are renting out rooms, the numbers of people using the halls and common areas will go up exponentially.

    Economists should study airbnb and vacation rentals as examples of negative externalities.

  233. It's common for a New York City apartment to have more than two people. A two bedroom apartment often has four adults living in roommate situations...

  234. Actually, many long-term rentals have multiple people living in them -- especially young people living in groups. And not only do they live in groups, they also have huge, noisy parties. There are quite a few of them in my building. They behave like they're still back at the frat house at Penn State, or wherever they come from.

  235. @Catharine ..."rare for an apartment - even a 2-bedroom - to have more than one or two people" ? May be you haven't lived in New York City but the opposite is the norm in NYC where the rents are so high only the very rich can afford to have leave an extra room empty. I grew up there sharing "my" room with a sibling and the dining area was cordoned off for my brother. My parents had the other bedroom -- we were not considered poor!

  236. I have never used airbnb, but have considered using it as a renter. I am too untrusting to accept strangers into my home as a "host," however, because of past experiences with people I KNEW who violated my home and my trust. One fellow -- a co-worker to whom I rented my apartment for a few weeks -- stole things from me and left me with unexpected bills. Another acquaintance I hired to do a house-and-dog-sit had a big party in my house, (locking up my dogs for the duration), and many pieces of my jewelry were stolen (either by her or her friends). It was the second incident that really killed my trust in people. I have not hired a dog sitter since. So strangers turning up on my doorstep is not for me, and will never be. Twice burned, thrice shy.

  237. The taxes on our downtown Brooklyn Home have gone from 7Gs a year to over 26Gs a year, thank you very much. If not for self imposed rent control on our own upstairs tenants who are writers, they would have to rent in Jersey. So AirBnB allows us to keep the property by renting out our own space when we aren't using it to great guests from all over the world and the U.S. These guests come to spend more of their money on the theaters, restaurants and stuff rather than on over-priced under-sized corporate hotel rooms in Manhattan. Guests, who can bring children and other couples sharing the space for 10 days rather than 5; who can dine and shop at local Brooklyn owner operated eateries, bakeries and dress shops. Each renter and guest is rated and scored and vetted by both AirBnB and prior renters and guests. Dope dealers, prostitutes and serial killers use motels, lobbies and Craig's list, not AirBnB. So far, we've had: Parents of a well known playwright and one of the real Inglorious Basterds, a German Jew working undercover in Nazi Germany. Think that guy was interesting to talk to? A teacher working for an NGO in Africa, a group of architects from Germany, a French Engineer and family. Many of the guests are family members of neighbors coming to attend a family event appreciating accommodations in walking distance. SO, chill out and let the market speak and let us pay our taxes.

  238. I am not sure what you mean by "vetted"-- The only thing Airb&B vets is the credit card funds--That is, if payment clears, the guest is in. Those listing a property on AirBnB do not need to show proof of ownership or legal right to rent the space (I have listed a property and know this as a fact)- they need only provide the address and an account for the rents to be deposited in.

  239. $26k taxes?! Were talking 5x or more London rates here. You new yorkers must be the highest taxed real estate owners in the world. Why doesn't some politician run on the basis of reducing the taxes?

  240. The owner and potential guests communicate and figure out if they want to share the space. That's pretty good vetting. Air BnB sets up the direct payments and forwards a 1099 and provides the internet platform for reviews. So, if a guest turns out to be a slob or a host turns out to have a weird DVDs in his collection, either party can nix it.

    The 'hood went from crack viles, syringes, graffitti and gang tagging to stroller Moms and boutiques in about 10 years. The property has been reassessed twice, hence the taxes went up. The U.S. Attorneys and Feds took out the crack gang in the local housing project and finally sent a street gangster nicknamed Turf and others like him to the big house.

  241. I don't know. Wouldn't it be easier to live in an apartment you can afford? It may not be such a nice place as this and it may be much further from work, but it would be yours.

  242. Or just buy a one bedroom, instead of a two?

    He is a single person, why buy a two bedroom?

  243. Buy something you can afford, not something you want? How anti-American. The 1% will attack: you are decreasing the portion of your income dedicated to the banks, the banks who made it easy to get that 2 BR, that 60" LED HD TV, that Land Rover, etc.

  244. Linda and Nigel, from the facts presented in the article, we can safely assume that Mr. Naess was well able to afford his apartment until he had to assume half the cost of his elderly mother's rent.

  245. I stayed at an Airbnb in Turin, Italy for a week a few years ago. Wanted a feel for the city other than a hotel room. It was great and I can assure you I did not urinate in the hallways or stay out late or make a bunch of noise. In short, for the naysayers, try it before you trash it.

  246. It's not the "experience" of staying in an Airbnb that' being trashed" it's the effect this practice has on neighbors

  247. This architect wonders about NY Zoning Codes and how they affect renting out part of your home in a single-family area. J-

  248. The 30 day threshold only applies to apartments, not one and two family houses.

  249. I'm just back from a month in Austria. I spent almost every night in different AirBnBs. It was much more affordable than a hotel and every host was kind and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed them all. But I'm sympathetic to those in New York City who aren't too excited to encounter strangers in the hall. I hope there's a way to work it out because there are a lot of benefits to hosts and guests alike.

    There are plenty of people who are comfortable paying $300+/night for a traditional hotel room - I'm not going to worry about the hotel owners.

  250. As the economy is still tanked for most Americans, an underground economy has emerged in many areas of commerce. This will continue and grow until things get better for the average person. People have to get more creative, dig deeper and do whatever it takes to get by.
    So the government's response is to send out the hounds to pressure those like Mr. Naess and AirBnB for taxes, instead of going after the oligarchs to pay their shares.

  251. Ah hah. Got it.So you rent part of your residence, operating it as a business. At some point, AirBnB hosts have to face the consequences:
    >Of insurance. Have you adjusted your residential policy to account for rental. Facing a loss and didn't do this? The insurance company has a clause to escape. They may pay you back your premiums, but you have lost your coverage.
    >Of tax benefits afforded primary residences. You loose mortgae interest and real estate tax exclsuion outright(but do get to claim it on he business form). There will be a point whereafter you may at sale date loose your capital gains exclusion, in some states real estate tax benefits(in Florida called Homestead Exclusion), and so on.
    >Of estate implications. In some states, a surviving spouse has certain rights to the primary residence. A business, if only partially. Another legal question.

    In short, it's not a venture for those who do not have a CPA or two college courses (even with A's) in Business Law.

  252. I'm sorry but this is a great fluff article, but let's try to cut down on the fluff pieces that promote a corporation's interest and profit margins.

    Where is the article that really examines the pros and cons of this model and if it is good for this city? Where is the mention of how escorts are increasingly turning to Airbnb and one man famously discovered an all out, for-profit, orgy advertised for his place that he rented out on Airbnb??

    Qualifying for an apartment is a process that gives at least a basic level of safety in the city. Sure we can argue 'not much' and this fluff piece is a condo... but 70% of New Yorker's are renters....

    ...and landlords screen for things like felons and sex offenders. They scrutinize income and employment. If there is an issue, you have a number of ways to resolve your problem - speak with the tenant, speak with the landlord, call 311... but when there is a short term renter in your building they can get away with anything and as a neighbor you need to police it all. Do you really think the cops are going to show up?

    Airbnb is NOT like a Bed and Breakfast. B&Bs are regulated, go through inspections, pay taxes, have to be approved by the community board for their district. And their insurance covers liabilities for any damage. (Your homeowner's insurance does NOT cover you if you are using your home for anything but what it was intended for. Just fyi...)

  253. I just returned from my first airbnb experience in Amsterdam… it was a "full house", four floors, great little roof top patio type of thing, right in the hippest area of Amsterdam. Even included two bikes. The house made our stay perfect and at 100 euros a night was half what a hotel would be. We would walk by hotels like the Westin, and know exactly what they looked like inside and what that US-owned hotel experience would be like. I can't say enough good things about my airbnb experience, and I know it will be a long time before I stay in a chain hotel again.
    I'm getting ready to take a business trip to Chicago and first thing I did = search airbnb for places close by to the very overpriced hotel.