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Residents Use Airbnb To Rip Off LIC; Affordable Housing For $500 / night

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Nov. 17, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Hunters Point South development, which tax-subsidized residents started moving into in May, is already being gamed for profit by renters using Airbnb.

Lottery recipients who received luxury Manhattan-view waterfront apartments, with the help of taxpayer subsidies, are now renting them out for as much as $500 a night.

A unit in one of the two Hunters Point South affordable buildings was highly sought after last year. More than 92,700 people applied to snag one of the 925 units that were on offer. The chance to win was 1 in 100.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” Frank Monterisi, the senior vice president of the Related Companies that developed the building, said at a meeting last year.

The development contains amenities such as an outdoor roof deck, rooftop garden, a fitness center and a children’s playroom.

Three residents were found to be cashing in on their affordable apartment deal on the controversial Airbnb site earlier this week.

NataliemobileOne tenant, who went by the name Nathalye, advertized her two-bedroom apartment for $500 per night, with the headline “Luxury Apartment with great Manhattan views.” With a cleaning and service fee, a five-night stay comes to $2,809.

The apartment is located at 1-55 Borden Ave. and can sleep up to six guests, according to the ad. The Venezuelan native, who moved to the U.S. three years ago, has two reviews, according to her profile.

Nathalye took down her listing after she was contacted by the LICPost. She did not respond to requests for comment sent via Facebook.

Meanwhile another resident, who used the name W, is renting out a studio for $190 per night. The ad reads: “waterfront Studio, 1 stop Grand Cen,”

The ad goes on to say, “The studio is in a brand new building right across the street from the waterfront.”

When that person was contacted via Airbnb, there was no response. The listing is still up.

Meanwhile another apartment was listed this week as “New Luxury Affordable housing with NYC views.” It was going for $150 per night and is located at 1-50 50th Ave.

The rent for a studio apartment for moderate income earners in the development ranges from $1,561-$1997, a one bedroom from $1,965-2,509, and a two-bedroom $2,366-$3,300. For low-income earners the rent is even less.

Tenants in affordable housing complexes such as Hunters Point South who use Airbnb are putting themselves at risk of being thrown out, according to Related.

“Related is committed to ensuring that all our residential units comply with the rent-stabilization laws,” a spokeswoman for the company said. She said the tenants are violating these laws.Nathalie2

Related evicted a tenant in an affordable housing complex in Manhattan earlier this year who was allegedly profiting by it through Airbnb.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that the use of Airbnb is not only a violation of the rules but also of the spirit of affordable housing.

“For someone to be so lucky to live in one of those buildings to do this is outrageous,” Van Bramer said. He said Related should investigate and take action.

Pat O’Brien, the chairman of Community Board 2, echoed Van Bramer.

“Anyone who is subverting the affordable housing process for personal gain should be thrown out,” he said. “I’m sure we can find one of the other 90,000 people who applied to fill their spot.”

Jackie Strawbridge contributed reporting to this story.


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