News | Culture | Lifestyle|Thursday, April 25, 2019

Crackdown on New York apartment rentals 

Thanks largely to a generation of fans of Sex and the City, Friends and Seinfeld, the popularity of apartment rentals in New York City soared.

But a recent crackdown on a law banning apartment rentals of less than a month is putting a dampener on the dreams of many holiday-makers, who loved the idea of “living like a local” for a while in the iconic city.

Earlier this year, a New York judge ruled that travel rental website Airbnb had violated the city’s illegal hotel law, which was introduced three years ago to stop landlords from turning residential properties into hotels.

Chris Heywood, from NYC &Company, says the law was introduced for safety and security reasons and to ensure the quality of life of residents.

“New York City is ingrained in popular culture – people see it on television and in films and want to come and live like that,” he says.

“But if there’s people coming in and out because their neighbour decided to turn his apartment into a hotel it creates an undue burden on residents and threatens the character of our neighbourhoods.

“With a lot of the apartments you can’t guarantee that they’re safe if there’s a fire.

“People are still coming and renting apartments through these websites and they have
to be careful and realise that it’s illegal and it’s illegal for a reason.

“They are very serious about this.”

Heywood says exceptions are made if you’re house-sitting for a friend or you have negotiated a house swap where no money is exchanged.

There is also a range of apartment-style hotels in Manhattan, including four AKA Hotels – Central Park, Sutton Place, Times Square and United Nations – Best Western Plus Hospitality House, Candlewood Suites Times Square, The Marmara Manhattan and Hotel Beacon, which is particularly popular with Australians.

In recent years there has also been a rise in hotels in boroughs outside Manhattan and Heywood says Australians who want an authentic experience should consider Williamsburg in Brooklyn or Long Island City in Queens, which has views of the city skyline.

They could also consider enclaves such as Harlem, where the boutique hotel Aloft Harlem recently opened.

“Australians are very intrepid – they are keen to venture out of the central city to the boroughs and discover the ‘real’ New York,” Heywood says.

He says people looking for affordable accommodation should consider including a Sunday night in their stay when rates are lower and visiting around a public holiday or in January, February, July or August when many New Yorkers leave.

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