It’s no secret that NYC is a hot spot for tourists willing to pay outrageous prices for accommodations. With the popularity of Airbnb on the rise it’s easy to see dollar signs in the eyes of all those travelers in Times Square. Maybe you’re doing some long-term travel over the summer or spend most weekends at your significant other’s apartment. Either way, you’ve probably thought about renting your NYC apartment out on Airbnb. With all this chatter about laws and violations, it can be a difficult decision if you don’t know all the facts. So, we’re here to break down exactly what you need to know and consider before bringing in the big bucks by renting your apartment through Airbnb.
Know the Rules
Before you come home from your nice vacation to an eviction notice on your door there are a few important things to remember about the New York laws around renting your apartment on Airbnb. Renting your apartment out for cash may be considered a business in New York, which would require business licensing. Check out the city’s new business portal before you list your apartment.
The New York State Multiple Dwelling Law prevents the renting out of certain types of dwellings for periods of fewer than 30 days. Be sure to check out the specifics of the law to see if your apartment falls under this law and if Airbnb guests are permissible.
Both New York City and New York State impose various taxes that apply to properties acting as hotels. These could include State sales and use taxes, city hotel room occupancy taxes, and state and city nightly room fees. Check out the taxes that might come with renting out your apartment on Airbnb.
Preparing Your Property
Once you have your legal ducks in a row, it’s time to price your apartment. Look at hotels and other rentals in the area. Keep in mind that you should likely price your apartment slightly lower than a high-end hotel as tourists looking to rent someone’s personal space are doing so to save a little green.
Take professional-quality photos of your property even if you need to ask one of your photog friends for help. Be sure to include photos of every room exactly as they would appear for your guest. Misrepresentations of your property, its view and location could result in negative reviews on your apartment’s Airbnb profile.
If you’re renting out the apartment you currently live in it’s important to store any valuables or personal belongings. A good option is to purchase a cabinet that can be locked for safe keeping. Make your guests feel at home with fresh linens and toiletries. Perhaps you can even create a book with your recommendations for your favorite area restaurants and attractions. Any extra special touches will result in higher reviews and more guests for your accommodations.
Selecting Your Guests
Airbnb offers a dual acceptance process so you can decide to accept or reject any potential guests. Keep an eye on the reviews of the guests requesting to stay at your property. The better the review, the lower the risk for you as you are ultimately looking to rent your apartment to strangers. Don’t be caught off guard by accepting a guest that could potentially damage your property.
If we’ve learned anything over the years in NYC it’s that strangers and tourists visiting our great city generally have good intentions and love this place for all the reasons we do. Make a little extra cash and showcase the Big Apple for those who might otherwise would be unable to afford it by renting your apartment on Airbnb!