What's your opinion on short-term sublets when visiting NYC?
May 5, 2008 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What's your opinion on short-term sublets when visiting NYC for a few days, in lieu of a hotel? Is it a safe option?

Details: I’m going to be visiting NYC for a weekend at the end of May. I’d like to get a good taste of the city outside of the touristy spots. This is not my first visit to NYC, and I’d like to stay in Brooklyn this time.

I’m considering doing a short-term sublet/rental of an apartment for 3 days/2 nights, rather than staying at a hotel. I’d like to get a better sense of what it’s like to be in NYC than what I feel a hotel can offer. I also like the idea of staying in a place that has a greater sense of being at home, than a hotel offers me when I travel. My budget is around $200 a night if I do a short-term rental.

When I’ve researched the subject, I’ve read some things that have me a bit nervous about a short term sublease/rental.

But, I’ve also read some things that make it sound like a pretty positive experience.

I’ve found a handful of places on craigslist that look awesome, and I have also found a bunch of places on this site that I really dig.

So, to recap – have any of you done a short-term sublet/rental of an apartment for only a handful of days in NYC? What are the reasons to not do this and to stay in a hotel instead (besides the obvious like costs, and conveniences)? What are some good steps to take to avoid getting scammed? I’m just looking to tap into some of your experiences.

Thanks Hive!

PS: I searched the archives, but couldn’t find any posts specific to my question. Your search-fu may be better than mine, so I apologize in advance for wasting your time if this topic has already been covered ad nauseam.
posted by xotis to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just mefi-mailed you.
In general, I think it's a good idea. You can ask the subletters for previous tenants as references if you are nervous.
posted by rmless at 10:18 AM on May 5, 2008

Not very helpful, maybe: there ARE a great many scams on Craigslist for short-term apartment rentals... so many that it must be some kind of hobby. Most seem to ask you to Western Union or send a 'security' deposit in advance by mail in return for keys sent to you by FedEx... perhaps.

I'd most definitely NOT make such a deal unless I could show up and pay on arrival.
posted by rokusan at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2008

I too just mefi-mailed you :x

I'm from New Jersey, so I don't really know the pros/cons of a temporary sublet, but I do know someone that sublets his brooklyn place often.
posted by carpyful at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: If you're looking for a non-trendy place to stay, you might also consider some bed & breakfasts in my neighborhood, on this blog (about halfway down on the right side). I'd probably recommend a place like a B&B because then you are living with "real" New Yorkers who can chat with you about what it is like to live here, and give you ideas of where to go other than "walk around the Village" or "go to the top of the Rock." What I wouldn't like about staying at an apartment somewhere is

Also, you might want to check out the Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum while you're in town.
posted by lorrer at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2008

Oops.... the end of the first paragraph above should read: "that, without a front desk or someone who lives in the area, I'd feel a bit disconnected and more like a tourist than with someone around who I can ask questions of and who knows the ropes of getting around, and has their own point of view and ideas about the place I'm visiting."
posted by lorrer at 1:28 PM on May 5, 2008

I have done short term rentals in NY several times, in different ways, including twice through Craigslist. The only slightly negative experience I've had was when the guy we rented from wanted to charge a cleaning fee even though we left the place cleaner than when we arrived (it was pretty dusty).

You can usually tell if the renter is legit or not. If your gut tells you they sound fishy, just stop the communication before any money is exchanged.

If Craigslist is too scary, there are agencies that act as a go-between, including handling the money question and so on. This is one that has been around for a long time. You do have to pay a fee of course. (The dusty apartment was rented through them, not Craiglist incidentally. Both the Craigslist apartments were impeccable.)
posted by thread_makimaki at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2008

I should add that I lived in NYC before and knew the neighborhoods I was going to stay in and things like that. If it will be your first time in NY you may find it a bit more difficult to find out such things.
posted by thread_makimaki at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: Oh and one more thing: the rental places are rarely as good as their descriptions or photos. People live in them, the're not hotel rooms that are cleaned daily. Just concentrate on the bare facts: the neighborhood, the number and size of beds, whether they have internet and cable TV, doorman building or not, things like that.
posted by thread_makimaki at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: I did this for about a week through Craigslist, and it was great. Having our own place, our own kitchen, was fantastic. Cheaper than any other options too. Go for it- you should be able to avoid the clearly dodgy places.
posted by twirlypen at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your responses - it sounds like a good thing to do so I'm going to go for it!

Also, the Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum does indeed rock. I saw it when I was in town a few weeks ago and I highly recommend it to others.
posted by xotis at 9:13 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: Update: I stayed at the apartment I rented in Williamsburg, and loved it. I highly reccomend it if you want a more accurate feel of what NYC has to offer beyond the tourst stops.
posted by xotis at 1:19 PM on June 3, 2008

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