Our Town APRIL 24, 2014
AG: AIRBNB ENABLING ILLEGAL RENTALS An investigation by the state attorney general’s office claims that over 60 percent of city apartments recently listed for short-term stays on AirBnB’s website were offered illegally. Under state law, a permanent resident of the apartment being rented must be present
when subletting the apartment for fewer than 30 days. An analysis by Sumanta Ray, an investigator with the AG’s office, said in an affidavit ﬁled Monday that, “the majority of the listings were for the ‘entire apartment’ meaning that the host would rent the entire apartment and thus presumably would not be present during
the rental period.” The data looked at more than 19,000 units being rented in New York City on Jan. 31, all but one of which were offered for less than 30 days. Ray said 64 percent of the listings were for the entire apartment. Ray also said that just ﬁve “hosts” were responsible for renting 203 units,
indicating that third party brokers are renting units on behalf of owners. The AG said in a memo that listings that run afoul of the law are fueling the “illegal hotel” industry. AirBnB spokesman David Hantman said in a statement that those who abuse the service are swiftly booted.
DEVELOPMENT A parking lot is being built over an area formerly used as green space by tenants of Park West Village. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons
Buying in a seller’s red-hot market
he headlines are true real estate inventory is at historic lows. This is the case across all price points and neighborhoods, from the Upper Eastside to the Upper West Side, from downtown to Harlem. There are no longer fringe New York City neighborhoods. Desirable properties are selling fast, and many receive multiple bids within of coming on the BY SUSAN ABRAMS days market. Here are some insider tips to help a buyer succeed in this overheated marketplace. 1, Know the marketplace. Research comparable properties. A lot of buyers make the mistake of forgoing a buyer’s agent. A good agent knows the marketplace and how best to present your bid, especially in this competitive market. 2. Decide on your no-regrets price. I advise buyers to offer the price that they can comfortably say I will have “no regrets” if I lose the property. Offer your highest price and then don’t look back. 3. If you can, waive the ﬁnancing contingency. In a seller’s market, cash is king. If you can’t pay cash, sellers are typically OK with a buyer obtaining ﬁnancing as long as the contract is not contingent on the buyer obtaining a mortgage. Buyers should get a pre-approval letter from a lender. Only waive the contingency if you are able to do so conﬁdentially and always consult with your lender and counsel before doing so. 4. Write a personal letter. The letter should discuss your connection to the apartment, why you love the property and position you as the best buyer. 5. First impressions count. Be friendly, courteous and positive when you tour the property. The seller’s agent is watching to see who expresses reservations and who might be a problem buyer. In a multipleoffer situation everyone prefers to deal with the nice guy, not the difficult purchaser. Susan Landau Abrams is a Licensed Associate Broker at Warburg Realty
THEY PAVED PARADISE Park West Village tenants: green space destroyed for parking lot BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS
UPPER WEST SIDE Tenants of Park West Village at 97th Street and Columbus Avenue are in court to prevent their landlord from converting green space they use as a recreational area into a parking lot, even though construction is well underway. Historically, tenants parked in the West 97th Street parking lot on land that is now owned by
Jewish Home Lifecare, which plans to build a 20-story nursing home on the site. JHL obtained the property in a 2011 land swap deal with developer Joseph Chetrit, who owns Park West Village. Tenants also parked at the West 100th Street parking lot, which Park West Village has its own plans to build over. As parking spaces are built into the tenants’ lease agreements, and negotiations for alternate parking accommodations failed, Park West Village decided to convert green space
located between its three residential buildings into a parking lot for tenants against their wishes. Lawyers for the tenants are appealing a decision by the state that allowed construction of the parking lot on the green space – known by tenants as the “central recreational area” – to go ahead. The case is scheduled to be heard by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Anil Singh on June 4. “Judge Singh has prohibited the landlord from compelling members of Park West Village Tenants’ Association to move their cars from the 97th Street parking lot or the 100th Street parking lot while the lawsuit is pending,” wrote lawyers Catherine Grad and Douglas Simmons in an April 20 update to tenants. “He has not, however, stopped the landlord from completing work on building parking spaces…in the central recreational area of Park West Village. We
believe that, if we win the case, the landlord will be required to restore the recreational space and open area that used to exist at Park West Village.” A Park West Village spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment. Meanwhile, JHL’s nursing home project has stirred no shortage on controversy in the community. Critics, including State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell and City Council member Mark Levine, contend that construction of the nursing home will disrupt students at nearby P.S. 163, cause traffic congestion in the area and threaten the neighborhood’s open spaces. Public hearings on JHL’s draft environmental impact statement are being held May 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of P.S. 163, located at West 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.