A Bunch Of Parked Vans On New York’s Streets Were Used As Airbnb Rentals


The New York City Sheriffs Department towed seven conversion vans, which were being used as vacation rentals on the popular Airbnb platform, off the streets of Manhattan this week. Five of the vans’ registrations and New Jersey plates had long expired, some as far back as 2000, according to Post sources.

The NYC Sheriff shared pictures of the vans being towed away on social media as part of “Operation Room Service.” All were parked in the East Village and Chelsea, sporting New Jersey plates, reports ABC 7 NYC.

Investigators were tipped off to the vans by a YouTube review of one of the vans, which said that it cost $97 for one night. The reviewer called the van “kind of cozy,” though he did also say that “it smells.” Pretty much what you’d expect from a cheap New York City hotel room, then.

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According to the reviewer, the renter was advertising the vans as a chance to experience #vanlife, the “Instagram phenomenon.”

A spokesperson from Airbnb told Spectrum News NY 1 that the listings are no longer active, noting though that enforcement of the law is the city’s responsibility.

“The Host and listings in question are no longer active on the Airbnb platform. In June 2020, we reached a robust information-sharing agreement with New York City, and subsequently began complying with the City’s short-term rental data reporting law, which regularly provides the City with the insights it needs to effectively regulate short-term rentals,” an Airbnb spokesman said. “Enforcement of the law is the responsibility of the City, and it has the data needed to do so, in this case, likely for months.”

Even though the police only cite the alleged registration issues as the reason for towing these vans away, you have to wonder, is this kind of brilliant or the start of a horror movie? On one hand, average hotel prices in Manhattan are pretty high and the van didn’t look that bad inside. On the other hand, you’re kind of paying to make the first few steps of a kidnapping easier for a criminal if things go badly.

At the risk of turning this into a QOTD, is this smart or stupid?

H/T to Motor1

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