Airbnb rental unit— is it worth renovating?

Hi guys! I’m Ann, this is my first post so it’s nice to meet you all!

I rent a micro studio in nyc that I’ve been airbnbing during travels, but recently started airbnbing full time because I’ve moved in with my boyfriend. It’s about 150sq feet on 2 floors. It came with mostly all of the storage furniture, a medium fridge (because the one in the kitchenette is so small and isn’t plugged in). I’ve put my own personal touches on it, but now that I’m not living there anymore is it worth it for me to renovate?
I have 4.8 stars out of 85 reviews, but I feel like the shower floor could definitely use a re-tiling, I can toss out the medium fridge because my guests can just use the baby one and can get rid of 2 of the storage units and replace them with smaller more chic ones. The whole project would cost about $1000.

Would it be worth it? Or should I just leave it because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and I already have such high reviews?

Welcome Ann! I’m a host in nyc as well and as you know the city is tightening up on Airbnb rentals and imposing heavy fines. That said, your question depends on many things.
First, do you own or rent this unit?
If you rent, do you have your landlord’s permission?
If you own it, is it a coop or condo where the board can stop you?
It is illegal in nyc to rent a whole apartment for fewer than 30 days without the owner present.
It doesn’t make sense to spend money on a place unless you are rock solid able to recoup your investment.
Probably not the answer you wanted but those are the facts.

I rent, but I always show my face (except for right now while I’m volunteering in SE Asia for 2 months). I have a 3 day maximum, and do most of the cleaning myself — so I essentially “live there”

That being said, my management company and land lord are not present at all and there are a few apartments in the building that I am 100% sure air bnb full time. The maintenance man knows what’s up, but I don’t think he cares.

I know this doesn’t mean anything is ever set in stone, but for right now it’s pretty solid. I’ve had a few comments about the bathroom floor and had to put a note in the listing about it.

But also, the way it’s set up now makes it very livable and I would move back in if I were to break up with my partner, so I risk having to buy new wardrobes (because there’s no closet) and a new fridge.

It might help if members here could take a look at the photos in your listing. You are new so you can’t post a link here but you could direct us to your listing number or name if you like.

I’m tying to figure out how to DM you. I’ve only got mobile web right now, so it’s a little difficult.

I’d say don’t renovate. It’s not your place, and you probably should be treading fairly carefully.

What is the purpose of doing it?
Will you be able to increase the nightly rate? Probably not.
Will you get a higher occupancy rate? Probably not
Will it give you higher ratings? Maybe, did you get remarks about the things you want to improve?

You already got a 4.8 and unless guests are complaining or you will be able to make more money, I would not do anything.

I have gotten a remark about both the shower floor and the lack of counter space, but from a horrid guest that took advantage of the fact that I was out of town and claimed my ac was broken on a hot summer day and demanded a refund. When my partner went to check not only was it working, but he had left it on!!

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Only you can do the figures and work out whether the investment is worth it.

As you won’t be living on the premises does the city council deem it legal for you to do STRs in your place?

This is a completely illegal str as the op admits in an earlier post

I didn’t see her actually admit that she didn’t have an appropriate permit to let a whole place listing with the city council. Just that the landlord and management company weren’t on the premises.

@SmallNSweet showing your face every few months doesn’t mean that you ‘essentially live there’.

So it might be that Ann neither has a permit to do Airbnb with her city council, nor does she have permission from her landlord/management company.

@SmallNSweet Ann can you clarify?

@Maggieroni sorry find regulations and terminology in the US a little confusing so may have misunderstood some of what OP was saying.

This is in NYC and the laws are very clear. Short term entire home rentals of less than 30 days are strictly prohibited in mult family (3 or more units) dwellings unless the owner is present during their entire stay. There are no permits you can get in nyc. The city is cracking down heavily with big fines and are passing a bill to get all the names and addresses of nyc hosts to be able to identify and fine them. She has no permission from her landlord and unless she has a clear sublet clause it’s most likely forbidden.
When she says:
That being said, my management company and land lord are not present at all and there are a few apartments in the building that I am 100% sure air bnb full time. The maintenance man knows what’s up, but I don’t think he cares.
This says she knows it’s most likely against the rules. She can be fined by nyc for just advertising on Airbnb or any other str.

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@SmallNSweet I wouldn’t do any renovations for Airbnb since there are several reasons why you may have to quit Airbnb. However if the shower needs to be retiled anyway and you may be moving back in at some point then that might be worthwhile.

Ah thanks that’s interesting @Maggieroni.

We have restrictions in some cities in the UK for whole place listings, but you can apply to the local council for a permit in these circumstances.

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The op should read this!

No no no and no. You shouldn’t be doing Airbnb at all let alone renovating a place that isn’t yours. You put your own tenancy at risk. Find another way to make a few extra bucks.