Short-term rentals are common (and perhaps inescapable) in a city like New York and other popular destinations, despite laws that prohibit the rental of an apartment in a Multiple Dwelling for less than 30 consecutive days. Recently, however, there’s been a dramatic upsurge in such rentals, thanks to vacation rental apps that have made the transactions simpler and more attractive for tenants and travelers. How much of a problem is it and how should it be addressed?
Vacation rental apps provide an online marketplace that connects people with apartments to rent with people who need a place to stay. There are, of course, many proponents of this business model. After all, these types of services have been used for generations to aid travelers of modest means. And what apartment owner or tenant would not jump at the opportunity to earn a few extra dollars? Especially, in New York City where it’s more lucrative. Besides, what’s the harm?
In fact, quite a few parties might be harmed—and not just those directly involved. Certainly, owners and the building management are affected by violations of the law. There is, for instance, the cost of fines and lawsuits brought by these transient renters or by parties who suffer damage. Meanwhile, from a government viewpoint, such transactions may ignore, not only zoning laws, but numerous fire, safety and hazard prevention laws. In addition, it is likely that the income earned by the tenant/lessor will never be reported for tax purposes. In the long run, these issues can affect many, if not all, services provided by the government to its citizens.
Frequently, however, the impact of the trend is most keenly felt by neighbors who live in these buildings. Recent news reports have been full of tenant complaints about excessive noise, damage and general offensiveness on the part of vacationers on short term stays. Reports of greater threats and dangers are not uncommon. And even when it poses no immediate danger, the presence of transients can be disturbing. Tenants may rightfully feel that the changing stream of residents across the hall violates their right to the quiet enjoyment of their own premises. Who wants to live in a hotel without a hotel’s security?
With the need to enforce the ban against such rentals pitted against the realities of the marketplace, it often falls to the owner or management of the building to discourage tenants from violating the law. Including a paragraph in lease agreements that specifically prohibits these types of short-term rentals could go very far in deterring them, especially if the penalty for violation results in financial damages or even eviction. We have revised the following forms to include a new paragraph Short Term Rentals Prohibited.
Go to Blumberg Legal Forms for more information or to buy forms.