Any Advice About a Month Long Sublet on Airbnb?
August 23, 2015 3:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to New York in September for a new job and I'm planning to do a one month sublet on Airbnb so that I can find a permanent place once I have arrived in New York. Is there anything that I need to check up on or ask the hosts before I select a place? How do I make a decision when there are multiple options?

I'm planning to live in Brooklyn long-term, so I'm considering sublets there, and I'll be working near Grand Central Station. I'm currently considering three places: "Private Bedroom", "Large Room For Rent In Brooklyn", and "Garden Level, Brownstone 1Bedroom".

I've sent a message to each of the hosts describing me and my plans, mentioning my work schedule, etc. and everything sounds good at each of the places. Two places have three good reviews, while the third has 17.

Is there anything less obvious that I should be asking them or that I need to find out before I pick a place?

For anyone familiar with Airbnb or New York, in there anything in those listings that make any of them stand out as a better or worse option? (I'm laid back, no allergies, friendly, flexible, always lived with roomates without a problem, etc.)

The difference in cost isn't an issue for me.
posted by crocodiletsunami to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would pick one of the ones with flexible cancellation (i.e. not the last one), because then if for some reason something goes wrong and you want to leave early, you'll be able to. Personally, though I don't see exact map location on here, I might go with the first one since it's next to Prospect Park (assuming you've checked the distance to the subway station you'd be using and it's not too far).
posted by three_red_balloons at 3:47 PM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

The first one has a tiny bed (listed as a pull out sofa) and a tiny kitchen.
The second one looks like it has a proper bed.
The third one has a futon as a bed; and a much nicer kitchen/layout. Outdoor space is amazing, and you most likely will not have it again, so that's the one I'd pick if I had a choice.

Depending on the specific blocks they should all be relatively easy for commuting to Grand Central Terminal (Grand Central Station is the post office). But, I'd ask for a specific intersection for each so you can figure out the exact commute and see how annoying/tolerable it would be.

I'd want to know whether I could keep items in the refrigerator and kitchen/bathroom or if I had to store it all in my room. Also, whether the bedroom has a door that locks.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:07 PM on August 23, 2015

Seconding the cancellation policy flexibility. That way if it's gross, you just don't like it, or you find a long-term rental that begins mid-month and that you feel 100% certain about, you can take it without having to eat the expense.
posted by tapir-whorf at 4:09 PM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just booked a month long air bnb stay and realized at the last second a 27 night or fewer stay is much better. For 28 days or more, airbnb sneakily changes the cancelation policy to long term where no matter what, you pay the first 28 days of rent. Even if you cancel with enough notice as listed in the flexible stay policy. So def worth 27 days at one place and then transfer apts or make two reservations.
posted by neematoad at 4:16 PM on August 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I didn't click through the links, but I'd look at whether the person offering the room/apartment has permission to sublet through airb&b.

Many New Yorkers don't like short-term subletters in their building, and if they report an unauthorized sublet, your life could become more complicated than you probably want it to be.
posted by girl flaneur at 4:58 PM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

2nding what girl flaneur said. NYC has been going after a lot of Air BnB hosts. Find out what the policy is if your host gets busted.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:23 PM on August 23, 2015

You don't say why you've decided to use AirBnB as opposed to other routes, but there are a lot of problems with AirBnB in NYC. The majority of listed apartments are in violation of the law, their lease, co-op/condo policies, rent regulations, or some combination of these. Many guests are asked to sneak around, lie to neighbors in the building when queried, etc (this is a common experience). AirBnB does not seem to be taking this problem seriously. You should think about whether you trust the integrity of someone who is violating the law/their lease/building rules by renting to you. You can also, as other posters mention, try to find out whether these "hosts" are allowed to rent out this space. If you opt for one of these listings, you may want to think about a backup plan for if things go badly.
posted by cushie at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes, for 28+ days airbnb changes the cancellation policy to long-term.

And I'm pretty sure airbnb's policy if the host gets busted is something along the lines of, "Tough (expletive), we just provide listings and handle money. You're responsible for making sure what you're doing is legal. We got our fee. Have fun trying to get your money back from the host."
posted by Gev at 5:50 AM on August 24, 2015

Hi, I'm an airbnb host in a major city that is not NYC. We do these sort of sublets on airbnb with some frequency.

I would be curious about the following things, with the caveat that I didn't read the listings carefully:
-how many people live in the house? how many of them are permanent residents, vs airbnb guests?
-have they had longer terms guests before? for how long?
-are you paying for them to keep the house clean, or are you expected to clean yourself? this question especially applies to bathrooms.
-how much access do you have to the rest of the house? Can you use the kitchen? Can you use their dishes in the kitchen? Is there a place for you to store food?
-Seems obvious but isn't always: Do you get your own keys?

I would advise having renter's insurance, and make sure it will cover you in this location.

Make of this what you will: whenever we host longer term guests on airbnb, we have them book a week through airbnb, and pay the rest of the rental fee in cash -- we make the same amount, and they pay less because airbnb doesn't get a cut.
posted by femmegrrr at 6:40 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

One other thing: it's pretty easy to find a one month sublet on craigslist. It will definitely, definitely be cheaper than airbnb. Might be something to check out.
posted by femmegrrr at 6:44 AM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

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