Avoiding problems under New York's short-term rental laws

Are you hoping to make a few extra bucks renting your unused condo out through Airbnb or someplace similar? You'd better hold off -- at least until you read this article.

In New York, you aren't allowed to advertise a short-term rental of less than 30 days in any permanent residency building. (For the record, it was actually already illegal to actually rent out the majority of apartments or condos on a short-term basis if you weren't actually living in the unit yourself. There was just no law against advertising. That was a loophole that many people saw fit to exploit -- but no longer.)

Just in case you're thinking that New York City police have better things to be doing than cracking down on people trying to make a little cash through their Airbnb side hustle, think again. A raid in late 2018 at the Far West Side condo buildings resulted in more than two dozen violations to 20 different condo owners (including a couple of board members).

Keep in mind, too, that it was other residents in that condo that put in a word to authorities about the rentals. Some of them noticed strangers regularly coming in and out of certain apartments, suitcases in tow -- so they kept track and sent a list of suspected illegal rentals to city authorities. They aren't the first to do so -- and probably won't be the last.

Aside from the hefty fines, violating your agreement regarding subletting or violating the law can also put you at risk of an eviction -- which is a whole new set of legal problems you'd probably prefer to avoid.

Keep in mind, you still have the right to have visitors stay with you and can let family members or friends use your place to sleep while they're in town -- as long as you aren't violating your condo association rules. If you have any doubts or are already in trouble due to an Airbnb situation, talk to an attorney with experience in condominiums and the various disputes that can arise.