RENTALS.SG brings you this article by Michael Gartland and Abigail Gepner that first appeared in the New York Post on December 19, 2016. Given the interest of condo and apartment rentals in Singapore and the ongoing Airbnb debate, this should be of interest to our members.
The city shut down an illegal Airbnb rental that crammed eleven beds and a makeshift concert hall into a grimy commercial building in Brooklyn — five days after an Oakland warehouse fire killed 36 people, The Post has learned.
The $30 a night listing offered rooms with bunk beds and no windows on a graffiti-blasted industrial strip of Greenpoint, according to the city, which raided the warehouse over the potentially “dangerous” fire hazard on Dec. 7.
“Do you love art and music? Excited about meeting other travelers? Up for an adventure? Then this is the place for you!” boasted in an AirBnb ad for the so-called “DIY” venue, Aviv.
The dodgy lodging at 502 Morgan Ave. was a “hostel-style” hub for punk rock music performance art, earning a four and a half out of five star rating on AirBnb, according to the short term rental website.
But city inspectors weren’t singing its praises when they found five cramped windowless bedrooms — including two with two sets of bunk beds — along with a DJ booth.
Someone had also installed a gas line without a permit, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.
The operator, Seattle transplant Zack Wheeler, was slapped with a order to vacate and the city gave guests the boot, City Hall sources said.
“We are relieved no one was hurt. We urge New Yorkers and visitors to be aware of dangers posed by illegal housing and performance spaces – and report them to 311 no matter where in the city they occur,” said City Hall spokeswoman Melissa Grace.
On Dec. 2, a fire ripped through Oakland’s “Ghost Ship” — a junk-filled warehouse that had been converted to artist living quarters— and killed dozens of late-night concert-goers.
Greenpoint neighbors said they support art and music — but not at the risk of residents’ lives.
“Unfortunately, my girlfriend’s friend’s brother lost his life in the fire in Oakland. I understand the [city’s] concern,” said neighbor Pete Louis, 49. “I think safety at this point should be a priority.”
Other neighbors — who said music thumped from the building at all hours— were happy to see it shuttered.
“They would come out of there, noisy, fighting, arguing,” said Charles LaMatto, 66, who owns property a block away. “There were bottles broken all along the side of the road. There were a lot of complaints.”
The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement found the warehouse while “monitoring” illegally converted short term rental listings, a city official said.
Nobody was fined or criminally charged for the building code violation, she said. There’s no law that prohibits AirBnB from publishing listings of for the illegal housing, the official said.
Wheeler declined to comment, saying he “didn’t want to say anything that would be harmful to the artistic community.”
A phone number for Morgan Avenue LLC, the firm that owns the building, was disconnected Monday.
Peter Schottenfels, a spokesman for Airbnb, said, “The overwhelming majority of hosts share their own home. While instances like these are rare, we support efforts to prevent illegal hotels and unsafe environments from using the platform. That’s why we have removed over 3,600 listings.”
Additional reporting by Yoav Gonen and Natalie O’Neill