by Eileen, Travel Planner
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you realize you’ve been duped. It’s happened to all of us— something seems too good to be true and then you realize (too late) that it is. It’s happened to me with concert tickets, “discount” coupons, and unfortunately with apartments. The hardest one getting over was the apartment. All my friend and I wanted was an apartment to call our own. We searched the internet, we asked every friend we knew, and we even called a couple of brokers. After finding “the one”, we arrived on move in day only to discover a very much present tenant still living in “our” apartment, who had no clue what we were talking about. Our deposit and the perpetrator where gone, never to be seen again. Luckily it worked out for us in the end; we found a legal apartment and lived happily there for a year or so.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the horror stories from friends and family— the apartment that was presented to them ended up being unsafe, filthy, or illegal.
Now I’m sure it doesn’t come as a shock to you that New York can get expensive. It’s hard to find a hotel in Manhattan for under $200 throughout most of the year, and during the holidays prices can get exponentially higher. We know what makes travelers tempted by the “too good to be true” offers— you’re on a budget and you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to your vacation. Many people assume that renting an apartment for a few days or weeks is the most cost efficient option left; it is actually illegal.
It is illegal (against the law) to rent an apartment for less than 31 day in New York City.
That’s it. No “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.” Don’t believe us? Here’s a link to the actual law: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/NYS_chapter_225.pdf
There are several reasons why this minimum is imposed; however it ends up coming down to safety. The so called apartment units can lack fire alarms, sprinklers, and create fire hazards to residents in the neighborhood. Most people discover that at the end of the road, when you come to New York and you make it into the apartment. Unfortunately most people don’t make it that far, for them the road ends when they produce payment.
We had a case last year when someone had produced payment and thought she was all set to go, only to arrive to New York and find out that the apartment she was intending to stay in didn’t actually exist. I’ve also heard a story about someone just sending off their credit card information only to never hear from the “owner” again. The most terrifying story I heard was when a couple arrived in New York from abroad. They were able to get into the apartment and decided to leave for the day, only to find themselves locked out of their apartment when they returned later that night. Locked inside the apartment were all of their belongings and passports.
If you are interested in economical options for your visit, we suggest looking into hotel in Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. You would be surprised at how easy it is to get into Manhattan and how much more cost efficient hotels are outside of Manhattan. We love hotels outside of Manhattan because you get to see real communities and neighborhoods. New York City has one of, if not the most, comprehensive transit system in the world. Our subways are in service 24/7 365 days out of the year. We always recommend investing in a Metrocard since it is a pass that allows you access to New York City. Getting around the city is as easy as swiping a Metrocard!
Don’t be fooled by anyone trying to rent you a short term apartment – remember that they are knowingly breaking the law by making this offer, and by providing them with your personal information or trusting them with your vacation, you are putting your money and trust in the hands of someone who is knowingly breaking the law.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have! We’re here to protect your best interests and provide you with the most cost efficient ways to travel in NYC. For more information on budget trips to NYC, read our New York City on a Shoestring blog or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!