Are AIR BNBs OK to use for short term rentals?
First, mea culpa... AirBNB is how I made the transition from South Jersey to Manhattan while looking for work.
It was a great experience, not without a few stories to tell.
The catch is that many AirBNBs in NYC are illegal. For one, home rentals of less than 30 days are not permissible unless the owner is present. In addition, NYC is in the middle of a crackdown that AirBNB in its defense has described as draconian and the City argues is necessary.
Until recently, there was a general "everyone does it", "no one cares" and "the chances of getting caught are very low" attitude. On the other hand, it was still worth considering hat you may be renting from people who are running illegal businesses in flagrant violation of their own leases and to the annoyance of their own neighbors. The problem is that many of the hosts don't even live in the apartments and are neighbors with in and out backpackers who are arbitrarily being provided with the keys and codes to the building. (We had a problem with a suspected neighbor hosting in and out tenants, and even had one of the person's drunken guests banging on our window during the wee hours of the morning.
The situation gets even worse in the case of illegal "dorm" conversions. I once stayed at a place where my bedroom consisted of a bed surrounded by a curtain in a dimly lit living room, and there was even a guest crashed out on the sofa. (Needless to say, the place smelled like weed.) To make things wore, I had no way of knowing what I was getting into until after I arrived.
Then there are the ones whose hosts live in the apartment and decide to take on tenants, but don't want the neighborhoods to know These are the ones that make you realize you're getting into something by sending you detailed streams of texts on how to access the property when you arrive. It is very clear that they are pleading with you not to be auspicious and they expect you to do your part by doing things, for example by not letting people see you enter the building with lots of luggage.
But to be clear, not all AirBNBs are illegal, and some can offer wonderful experiences.
Consider some of the advantages...
Then again, there are some downsides too...
In the end, my advice is simple: Weigh the options. Of course, you can ask agents such as myself if they can help, buy be aware that it can the very difficult if not close to impossible to find CHEAP, furnished, short term summer rentals especially at the last moment.
As you do this remember: Never give information or wire money to a person that you have never met before. (Read more about Real Estate Wire Scams here.)