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NYC ban on short-term rentals under 30 days

NYC ban on short-term rentals under 30 days

Recently we discovered that a law was passed which makes it illegal to rent out New York City apartments for periods of less than 30 days, effective 1 May 2011. Apparently this issue has been getting national media attention across the United States, but as Australian citizens we hadn’t heard of this ban until now. As travelers who planned to spend 2-3 weeks in New York in summer next year, this decision hurts a lot – and apparently other cities are considering following suit!

Consider these NYC facts:

  • The average daily room rate of a NYC hotel is $208.06 (Source: Hotel News Resource). However as it’s likely to be peak or shoulder season when we visit, we expect this cost to be much higher.
  • Quick research shows that a private room with shared bathroom in a centrally-located hostel starts at $115 for Summer 2011.

Since we were planning to rent out an entire studio apartment for well under $100/night with a private kitchen, private bathroom and much more space, this decision will have a significant impact on our plans. Not only will it affect our budget, it will also affect how we travel.

While we can hope and pray all we like that this ban is overturned before then, we will need to come up with a contingency plan (or two) on the assumption that it won’t. We brainstormed some ideas and here are the three which we think are the most realistic.

Stay in a Hostel

When people think budget accommodation, they often think hostels – and this seems to be our most likely option. A hostel in New York City would be centrally located and the extra cost wouldn’t hurt our budget too much. It would also give us the opportunity to meet fellow travelers which would be fantastic in a big city, plus we would have the privacy of our own room.

The only downside is that it seems some of the higher rated hostels have a 2 week stay limit during peak season, meaning we may need to stay in 2 separate hostels during our time in NYC.

Couchsurf/Rent a Single Room Instead

We’re big fans of the Couchsurfing concept, but to couchsurf for a couple of weeks is borderline on freeloading. Renting a single room hasn’t been made illegal in the short-term rental ban and would be ideal for our budget – we could rent a private room for slightly less than renting an entire apartment and enjoy interacting with a local resident on a daily basis.

However, we also value our privacy and the ability to come in and out whenever we want. This might be a negligible concern and obviously we are paying for the room, but for some reason have the impression we would be stepping on the toes of our host during our stay.

Extend our NYC Stay to 30+ Days

While we’re sure we could easily spend over 4 weeks in New York City and its surrounds, this is the least likely of the 3 options due to the extra cost involved. 10 more nights of accommodation and the cost of food/transport/activities would probably blow our budget out of the water. However, it’s still a very tempting option as we’d be able to call the city home for a month and be able to do things on our own terms.

Two other options we may also consider are to shorten our stay and stay in a basic hotel, or stay in Newark for 2-3 weeks and catch the train across whenever we needed to.

Obviously a lot more research is required before we make a final decision, but at this stage it looks like we’ll be choosing between staying in a hostel and renting out a single room. If any of our readers are from New York City or understand this law a bit better than we do, please provide your suggestions in the comments and help make deciding our Plan B easier!

Flickr Photo: acmace

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