NYPD seizes several vans used as illegal Airbnb rentals

New York Police have impounded seven pickup trucks that had been used as illegal Airbnb rentals for the past two years. Some of the vans faced numerous parking infractions and expired registrations.

On Saturday, the official New York Sheriff’s Office Twitter account posted photos of the pickup trucks seized by highway patrol deputies from various streets in Manhattan. The vans were advertised on the popular Airbnb short-term rental app for just $ 100 a night, compared to an average of $ 200 plus a night in New York City.

In April, New York City officials adopted legislation making it illegal to rent apartments for less than 30 days in most apartment buildings. Airbnb tenants who violate the new law face severe penalties, including eviction and fines of up to $ 7,500.

Vans have been promoted for inexpensive “glamping” on the streets of New York City and have been described as spacious private rooms that can accommodate up to three people, the New York Post reported. “Glamp in a spacious RV in New York!” an ad read. Five of the pickup trucks were parked in New York’s East Village.

The vans were seized after a traffic cop noticed that several of the vans had long-expired out-of-state license plates. Some had records that expired before 2000, the To post reported.

The seven vans were seized throughout Thursday and Friday, authorities told the To post.

Following an investigation launched by the NYPD Sheriff’s Office and the NYPD Document Fraud Unit, authorities discovered that these vans were part of an “operation of alleged fraudulent and illegally registered vehicles used as Airbnb rentals in various streets of Manhattan, ”said Sheriff Joseph Fucito. the To post.

Sheriff’s Highway Patrol MPs were busy this week impounding seven suspected fraudulent and illegally registered vans used as Airbnb rentals on various streets of Manhattan. ?? pic.twitter.com/rBZ1TBZ2xt

– NYC SHERIFF (@NYCSHERIFF) September 25, 2021

A guest who spent a night in a red 1999 Ford Econline with New Jersey license plates in the East Village said the experience was interesting. Uptin Saiidi, a journalist and video maker from California, was sold on cheap rental in a prime location for just $ 97 a night.

Saiidi documented all of her experience in a video posted on his YouTube on Aug 11. He said the key left for him in the safe in the back of the van only unlocked the door but did not start the engine.

He also said that when he got to the van he noticed a parking ticket from the day before. He was immediately worried.

He described the van as “smelly” and said his stay was “horrible” because he was not even able to move the location of the van. He also noted that there was no bathroom in the van that concerned him. Saiidi said the host asked her to shower in a public swimming pool and use the public restrooms near the Starbucks or the local gymnasium.

The NYPD has launched an investigation into illegal Airbnb rentals which have been heralded as an inexpensive “glamping” experience in the middle of New York City. The city passed a law banning apartment rentals for less than 30 days in most apartment buildings.
Darieus / Getty Images

Throughout her stay, Saiidi used the toilets at nearby bars and fast food restaurants. He was able to access the Internet using his phone’s hotspot. He also mentioned that the van did not have air conditioning so to get airflow he had to open the windows.

In Saiidi’s video, he showed the interior of the van, which is laid out like a motorhome with a curtain separating the two front seats from the open “room” at the back. The sleeping area of ​​the van has curtains to block the multiple windows as well as a large bed and a small bedside table equipped with a make-up mirror and two bottles of water.

“I still don’t know if it’s legal to sleep in a van in New York City,” Saiidi said in the video. The Department of Transportation said it was legal as long as the car was not parked in one location for more than 24 hours in restricted areas and no more than seven consecutive days on unrestricted streets.

The investigation is ongoing but the owners of the pickup trucks have not yet been identified.

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