AirBnB: Not just extra cash for tenants, but for all New Yorkers

During the heat wave of July last year, my 66 year-old mother rewarded herself for surviving the painstaking climb up my four story walk-up by parking herself in front of my window AC unit until the sweat subsided. It was hard to watch.

So when my six-month pregnant sister decided to return, my mom said, “You’re going to climb those stairs in that state?”

Yes, that’s exactly what she did since paying for a NYC hotel room was out of the question.

If I ever want family or friends to visit, I have to offer up my miniscule apartment as bait to leverage the cost of everything else. Who wouldn’t accept the offer considering the average rate for a hotel room in NYC was almost $300 in 2012, the most recent data available on NYCgo.com. That’s not exactly affordable.

AirBnB is a savior in this regard. What if I didn’t live here; does that mean my family would never visit? The answer is most likely; and I can see that being the case for many NYC tourists who flock to AirBnB in droves as means to end.

AirBnB, and any other like services, are under a microscope. Negative press and disenfranchised landlords have made a stink about its legality. There have been horror stories, yes, but for the most part it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Friends who use the service have nothing but praise for it and AirBnB offers a substantial amount in insurance money to its lessees. For tourists, the added advantage to saving money is the ability to feel like they’re a real New Yorker. We want to make tourists happy considering they’re the basis of an industry that generates $55 billion in economic impact and 363,000 jobs.

It seems one Manhattan Housing Court judge agrees – he recently ruled in favor of a tenant being sued by her landlord for using the service because, according to the ruling, the Multiple Dwelling Law that prohibits short-term sublets is “generally aimed at the conduct of owners of property, not tenants.”

This particular battle was won, but the company and its competitors face an uphill battle as the voices of landlords who condemn the legality of the practice grow louder. It’s time to think less about the chump change it costs landlords and more about the millions to be made if AirBnB provides even more tourists the ability to visit the city . That’s more money to be made – for everyone.

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