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New Jersey: Help me select an apartment for hosting!

#1

Can members advise on finding an apartment well-suited for hosting?
I’ve personally “traveled the world” in recent years (nearly 30 countries) with many airbnb stays as a guest.

  • and now I’d like to “give back” - as a host!

I’m looking for a place in Weehawken, NJ or West New York, NJ - either a 1BR or 2BR with a large living room.
(It’s a good location. NYC is accessible relatively quickly via bus and ferry - and rents are generally cheaper. Also, NJ avoids the NYC crackdown against airbnb from government, misguided tenant groups, and the hotel industry)
I plan on living there; and I would stay in the living room when hosting. (My initial plan would be to host ten days a month, and then see what happens)

Here’s my thinking so far:

Large Apartment Building
A large multi-unit apartment building is probably best - because many people are coming and going regularly (and it’s less likely for anyone to notice my guests).
Is this a correct assumption?

Avoid Doorman and Onsite Building Managers
Avoiding a doorman and lots of building surveilance is probably important - but maybe also preference against an onsite building manager.
Does this make sense?

Preference for first floor or low floor
(less travel around the building and chance of getting lost)

Landlord disclosure? I think not.
Although I’ve read articles advising to discuss with building management, I’m thinking this is unrealistic - or perhaps much more the exception.
Am I mistaken here?
Are renters generally disclosing airbnb to landlords?

Private House and Owner Permission?
A possible exception to non-disclosure is with a private house or small building - maybe an owner who “gets” airbnb and gives permission - provided the lease terms hold the tenant responsible for anything related to hosting (i.e., any kind of government fine or tax, property damage, injury, etc.) There might also be a “rent premium” involved.
Does anyone have experience with this kind of arrangement?

Are my assumptions sound?
Is there anything else I’m missing?

Thanks in advance for the input.
Great community here.

#3

I live in Weehawken and the competition is already tough. There are a ton of listings. Also the mayor here is not a fan of short term rentals and we’re waiting for him to issue an ordinance banning it, as is being done across many towns in the USA. I think that you are better off looking for a place in Jersey City, where short term rentals were just legalized (with certain provisos, of course) and taxed. The 6% tax is automatically charged during the booking process and then sent to the city.

I’m looking at property in Jersey City now, and there’s not a lot of inventory of 2 & 3 family buildings that aren’t dumps and aren’t in a crappy neighborhood.

#4

I would imagine you would be on the inside track to an eviction for bringing extra liability, as well as wear and tear upon the owner.

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#6

Thanks for the input superhost and felix…

Robert, what’s your glitch dude?.. you dumped on this thread with distracting noise - and you doubled the noise factor by posting twice… the only useful information contributed is by inference… but you’re credited with getting to the heart of the matter. I’m guessing maybe you’re in a situation where these concerns don’t apply (i.e. you own your home in a location without STR concerns?)

In any event, I should ask directly:
How many airbnb hosts (in urban areas) are actually getting permission from landlords or property managers?
What percentage would this be? One third? around 25%? less than 10%?
Would anyone care to speculate?

#8

Robert, your self-righteous and indignant posture is grossly defeated by your falsely asserted premise that the airbnb arrangement is largely “legitimate” (at least according to many of the current rules as literally interpreted). I don’t think that a single one of my many, many airbnb stays was fully compliant with all the rental space leasing terms (or condo board rules), local zoning ordinances, and all the other state laws and regulatory requirements that arguably govern the airbnb arrangements. This is clearly reflected in Airbnb’s own “responsible hosting” guidance - which is very sparse and vague, and omits the overwhelming majority of US cities

In some cities in particular, like NYC, the legal/regulatory environment - at least as now being interpreted - is so onerous to airbnb that the “non-legitimate” percentage (to use your terminology) must be something like greater than 95% or perhaps greater than 99%.
By your logic, this means that NYC’s 30,000 or more hosts are doing something equivalent to selling heroin.

I’d rather interpret this scenario by accepting the reality. First, neighbors don’t care what you do in your apartment if you’re not interfering with them… and landlord-tenant leases - and government regulation, understandably evolved with conventions of prohibiting commercial uses of rental spaces, but this never contemplated airbnb type arrangements.

I think some of us get the difference between doing something that is morally or ethically wrong - versus doing something relatively new that “the rules” were not designed to accommodate. As noted, Jersey City - a progressive city taking a lead in updated its rules - has now legalized airbnb.

2 Likes
#9

Neo, let me just jump in here and say that no owner in their right mind would allow a tenant to run an Airbnb, exposing them to liability and wear and tear on their places, to say nothing of angering neighbors. When you sign a lease, you agree not to sublet the premises. Airbnb constitutes subletting …and more!

Your statement that neighbors don’t care what goes on behind closed doors between hosts and guests is ludicrous.

Even those of us who own are not always loved by neighbors for doing Airbnbs. My homeowners association happens to allow VRs but not every neighborhood in Hawaii does and will fine owners for even “thinking” about running a vacation rental in their neighborhoods. Some even turn in their neighbors!

See this story from yesterday:

#11

Pleas grow up! That is so obviously window dressing - a thinly-veiled public marketing effort. Seriously, you think the typical millennial in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or Morningside Park, Manhattan, or Flushing, Queens, hosting one of the bedrooms in their rental apartment is doing all that? or ANY of that? What planet are you on and what are you smoking?
And it’s totally vague - this tells me nothing specific about what to do. It basically says “follow the law”… Ok, well thanks.

I dunno dude. I’m certain the overwhelming majority of hosts in the NYC area are NOT complying with the laws. If you rent - you aren’t getting landlord permission, and if you own, your condo board most certainly prohibits short term rental… and that’s just for starters (yeah… please re-read all that crap you just posted from the airbnb site)

If I’m missing something here, please advise. My intention is to host (in the least problematic way possible) given the area I’m in. That was essentially my original question - remember?

If there’s anyone left that’s not been demoralized by the way this topic has degenerated… I would still welcome helpful input. “Soap box” admonitions that have no relevance to my area or which falsely assert broad generalizations about airbnb hosts are obviously not helpful, but I am open to constructive ideas.

#12

I think Robert is addressing the fact that most of the people on the forum are a bit more than casual hosts. They’re either already clean or trying to get clean. Take a look, for example, at the recent insurance thread. There is a lot of confusion out there about how exactly things need to be done.

So, let’s say, for example, you don’t tell the landlord about your activities. The guest slips on a patch of ice. They now want two million dollars. In a covered situation, the landlord’s insurance policy would generally become involved, provide counsel to defend against a payout, and, if necessary, foot the bill for any court winnings up to their maximum exposure.

In this case, the insurer would assign an investigator to the case, find out one of the tenants has been running a commercial operation, and ultimately void the owner’s policy. Not only is the owner now liable for the injuries, they are likely in trouble with their mortgage holder, as one of the requirements generally assigned is maintaining sufficient insurance.

Beyond all of that, most people here want to keep the community alive. Enough complaints from owners and tax-paying entities can lead to the generalized bans that have been popping up in places. So, being clean and paying taxes preserves the community of hosts. The last thing we need to do is give the hotel industry additional legs to stand on. “At least we pay taxes”, etc.

Back to your original question, though, you will likely find less resistance as you move from condo to townhouse to single family homes. Just be upfront about your intentions when you are negotiating a lease.

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#14

Neo is right. Almost all of the Airbnb hosts in NYC are violating the law. And Airbnb knows it, but you don’t see them deactivating their accounts. If they did, they wouldn’t have Airbnb in New York. And I wouldn’t call these New York hosts the moral equivalent of drug dealers. It may be illegal in New York, but it’s hard to call it immoral.

New Jersey is the only place near New York where it can be done legally for the most part.

Neo, I would suggest finding an owner of a small rental building and talking to him about it. Our landlord is perfectly fine with it and knows exactly what we’re doing.

#15

Neo, what I can tell you though is that if you’re doing it out of the apartment you live in, to supplement your income, it should work out fine. But if you want to lease several apartments and do it as a business you’re going to find it very difficult - because the rents are so high around here. During the good months you can make more than the rent. But during the slow winter months, you won’t even make the rent. At the end of the year you’ll probably come out just about even… meaning your income will just about equal your rent. Maybe you’ll make a few hundred dollars profit in a year. It’s not really worth it to do it that way.

#17

Yes, sure. They eliminate a handful of people for appearance’s sake when the political situation is getting a little too hot for them. Then things cool down and they go back to business as usual. The point is - if they were following the law they’d ban all 30,000 or so units they have in the city… not just a handful every now and then.

Your own selection of articles shows that they’re not serious - if you’d read the articles. The first article says they purged some bad actors, but they’re already back! And the second article shows they do it for short-term political purposes. They’re certainly not serious about following the law in New York City.

#18

LOL on the dorm room AirB&B! That takes some guts… At my kids’ dorms, you can’t even have a guest stay overnight! dumb kid. More than likely he’ll get booted from his dorm and possibly his school too. Very very dumb!

#19

Gentlemen, the bottom line here is that unless you get permission IN WRITING from your landlord (and apprise them that their homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover your Airbnb commercial activities) you are on a slippery slope renting your leased places on AirbnB. We’ve had other newcomers come here and try to tell us it was OK to do. And that everyone was doing it so that makes it OK… Those same posters got indignant and called us hostile when all we did was convey the cold, hard truth.

But for the reasons Felix and Robert mention above, it’s a HUGE liability for your landlord to run Air on their properties and may void their homeowners’ policy if there is a claim or incident. If that happens your mortgage holder may force place insurance on you and add a policy costing thousands to your mortgage payment… and if you fail to pay one month and default… well… acceleration is next (calling the entire amount of the loan due) and after that, referral to foreclosure. Yes, it can happen that fast. I would advise you Neo, to save your pennies and buy your own place. Not try to sneak Airbnbs on an unsuspecting landlord. It’s wrong, dangerous and unethical in so many ways, and will be in violation of the lease agreements you sign. Violate a lease and you are evicted and out on the street in 30 days.

1 Like
#21

Check this out. HomeEscape is a new free platform I’ve been told is good.I just started working on my listing. Look at this. They REQUIRE you to provide proof you have an owner or manager’s permission to rent! Air should do this also!

1 Like
#23

Well, that’s what Airbnb was when I first signed up! LOL.
Worth a shot and the price is right. :slight_smile:

#24

Thanks for your support and sensible suggestions JonYork!

#25

All I want is to be a resident-host, and maybe have single travelers or couples from interesting places around the world hang out in my place for a week or two every month. And a few extra bucks to offset some of my rent.
That should be the airbnb mission statement; Democratizing foreign travel and making hospitality personable and affordable. That’s it. Isn’t that the heart and soul of airbnb?

Leasing (or buying) living spaces for purely commercial use IMHO is totally NOT what airbnb should be about. If someone is buying up or leasing several properties, then they are essentially just running a business - basically a reconfigured kind of hotel business - and in my view, that’s the kind of person that should be subject to all the governmental regulation.

Maybe Robert is somehow is mixing me up with that kind of person.

#26

JonYork is totally on the mark.
It makes sense for airbnb to crack down on the jerks that are running large-scale, sophisticated commercial operations. Those operators go against the spirit of airbnb… which was not conceived of as a way to create vacation rental empires - they are the ones causing the biggest problems for everyone - like in NYC where tenant groups claim they suck up the apartments, hotels say they ruin the hospitality business, neighbors say destroy communities, and government says they aren’t paying tax.

But airbnb isn’t going after anyone like me.
I think these are two different animals entirely and although they both live in the airbnb ecosystem, people should use common sense to understand the difference.

#27

LOL! That’s totally cool. How many people do you know with bragging rights that their place was used to shoot a porno flick?

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