Airbnb, the New Way to Live in NYC
New Yorkers are in love all of a sudden, and their beloved’s name is airbnb.com. I won’t hesitate to say that this website not only made it easier for people to live in the city: for many, it literally saved their lives. The website was created to help the tourists visiting the city, but it became a real godsend to those who cannot imagine living anywhere else.
What’s the deal? People living in NYC sublet their apartments to tourists (and to people otherwise in need of staying here). They offer process lower than hotels do, the locations are often excellent and there’s the certainty that one’s belongings won’t be stolen. Is it really safe? Yes, since in order to use the site you need to give your personal information and credit card number. I talked to several people who sublet their apartments and all told me that their confidence in the service is complete, since in case anything happens, airbnb covers the cost. The website charges a fee on each transaction, of course.
Is it legal? Not really. There are more and more voices saying that the thing should be penalized. In case one’s landlord would learn of the whole process, you would probably end up evicted. After all, the people offering sublets are not owners of the places they are subletting, which renders their activity illegal. Usually, the actual landlords look the other way, but in most cases they simply are unaware of the process.
The funny thing is, it often happens that the person doing the subletting doesn’t even meet the people they are subletting the place. They leave the keys in a downstairs café, and the temporary lodgers pick them up there and return them when they leave. The person who sublets the place disappears for the duration of the sublet (in this case, it’s great for them to have friends they can crash with), or even stays at the place – if they are subletting a single room in an apartment. For New Yorkers, this is a great solution – as the rent is sky-rocketing – a small financial help is either extremely welcome or simply invaluable since more and more people cannot afford living here. One of my Lower East Side friends told me that by subletting the place for a single week, he can afford to live in his place for a month.
The website has been working for some time now, but it is really blooming at the moment. I hope it stays here for a long time since it really is making it a lot easier for all of us.