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Arthur Frommer: It's Smart to Make Sure Your Airbnb Host is at Home | Frommer's Airbnb

Arthur Frommer: It's Smart to Make Sure Your Airbnb Host is at Home

A massive battle is being waged in courtrooms all over the world between supporters of short-term apartment rentals and cities wanting to put an end to those uses.  
The cities claim that such companies as Airbnb are worsening the availability of housing for permanent residents; that these permanent residents are unable to stay in a growing number of apartments illegally rented by landlords, who are earning larger amounts of money by placing short-stay tourists in entire apartments.
The cities claim that such rentals should be permitted only if the owner of the apartment remains in it. If that is the case, the apartment would not be removed from the city’s housing stock. 
Many tourists, of course, do not want to live in an apartment where the owner remains in residence.  
The battle between such popular services as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and others, and such popular cities with housing shortages such as New York, San Francisco, San Diego, London, Paris, Barcelona, Venice, and many more, has been marked by colorful examples.  
Cities point to instances in which whole buildings have been emptied to house short-stay tourists and have thus become illegal hotels. 
They point to residents who leave their apartments in order to rent them to higher-paying tourists.
Thus far, the Airbnbs seem to be winning, and numerous visitors seem to be obtaining apartment rentals without regard to whether the apartment owner remains in residence.  
How can a regulator determine whether an apartment owner remains in residence after that regulator has simply knocked on the door and demanded answers?
But these outcomes seem to be changing as more and more cities become sophisticated in their enforcement of the rules.  
For one thing, New York City and some others have demanded of Airbnb a continual list of each and every rental arranged through it, thus enabling them to spot those persons who are offering multiple continuing rentals of the same apartment.  
Other jurisdictions, like Paris, have adopted a total ban on such rentals for all but 50 days of the year, thus requiring that apartment owners cease renting the apartment at all outside of a short yearly period. 
For the cautious tourist, the picture is becoming more and more clear.  
If you arrange a short-term rental of an apartment in any city, you should avoid trouble by demanding proof that the owner of the apartment will remain in residence throughout your stay.  
Unless this happens, you may be forcibly ejected from the apartment by a city investigator.