Question about short-lease of a brownstone in NYC
January 26, 2008 2:54 PM   Subscribe

NYC-vacation-rental-filter: we're on the cusp of agreeing to rent a six room brownstone in Williamsburg, but before we do, I need to know what we're getting into from people who have had similar experiences.

First, is there a way to protect ourselves against fraud? We found the ad on Craigslist, initiated contact, have emailed back and forth several times, but I'm still a little nervous. The ad clearly states the address; the pictures match google maps street view; the name, phone number, and email address of the lady who lives there checks out; but I still want to be sure. Is there any sort of preferred method of payment in these situations that can protect both the lessee and lessor?

Also, if this works out, are there any questions I should ask the lessor now that will expose any otherwise hidden charges (i.e. cleaning fees, etc.)? If you've been in a similar situation, is there anything you wish you would've known upfront that would've led to a more enjoyable experience? Thanks!
posted by bjork24 to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (6 answers total)
And, FWIW, this is for a 3 night stay.
posted by bjork24 at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2008

pay by credit card. that will protect you against fraud better than if you pay cash or cheque.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:08 PM on January 26, 2008

Do you have friends in NYC who you can send on a recon mission?
posted by gjc at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2008

You may want to glance through this discussion and this one on Tripadvisor. In short, most short-term apartment rentals are illegal in the city. That doesn't mean that the place you found is illegal, or that you will get ripped-off, but it does imply that you should be extra careful when making the transaction. Definitely do not wire money ahead of time.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2008

Thanks for the info, plastic. Do you know if vacation rentals are only illegal in Manhattan proper, or the burroughs as well?
posted by bjork24 at 8:36 PM on January 26, 2008

Most laws that apply to Manhattan apply to the entire city, meaning the 5 boroughs.
posted by anthropoid at 9:58 PM on January 30, 2008

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