New York (CBSNewYork) — A hotel in New York City can be expensive, so imagine spending the night in a van and sleep less.
The Sheriff of New York City said several vans were rented out Airbnb But not anymore.
“It’s just a big green truck that has been there,” East Village resident Jane Dorsey told Lisa Rozner of CBS2.
That van was one of seven trucks seized on Thursday and Friday.
The sheriff’s road patrol representative was busy this week seizing seven suspected fraudulent and illegally registered trucks that were used as Airbnb rentals on Manhattan’s streets. 🛑🚦🚔 pic.twitter.com/rBZ1TBZ2xt
— New York Sheriff (@NYCSHERIFF) September 25, 2021
The Sheriff’s Office cooperated with the Document Fraud Division of the New York Police Department and discovered that “vehicles suspected of fraud and illegal registration were used as Airbnb rentals.”
Two of them were in Chelsea, and one of them accumulated nearly $1,500 in parking violations in December 2020.
Five people are in the East Village. An overnight stay in one of the vans was posted on YouTube, and the sheriff said it was part of an investigation.
“I still don’t know if this is legal,” someone said in the video.
On Airbnb, the host Nancy said that it can accommodate three guests, and said that this is “a way to experience New York #VanLife!” For the bathroom, she listed locations such as local Starbucks and specific venues open at night, such as Dongsan The book club bar on the street.
“A gentleman came in and asked to use the bathroom,” said Mathuson Anthony, an employee of Book Club Bar.
An online post showed that the price per night in August was as high as $97.
“It’s cheaper than my apartment,” a Chelsea resident said.
“I’m curious how they can stay for so long without being dragged away,” said Delphine Le Goff, a resident of the East Village.
All license plates are from New Jersey, and one person’s registration expired 21 years ago.
The sheriff stated that he is investigating who the owners of these trucks are.
East Village resident Matt Miller said: “I really don’t like the entire Airbnb taking over the apartment in my neighborhood, so a van looks disgusting.”
“The reason people do this is really reasonable,” said East Village resident Michael Medina.
He said this makes sense, because the guest video blogger pointed out that the average hotel stay in New York City is $400.
“I’m glad I did it, but I will never do it again,” the video blogger said.
Now, no one may be able to do it.
An Airbnb spokesperson issued the following statement:
“The hosts and listings in question are no longer active on the Airbnb platform. In June 2020, we reached a strong information sharing agreement with New York City, and then began to comply with New York City’s short-term rental data reporting law, which regularly provides New York City provides the insights needed to effectively regulate short-term leases. Enforcement is New York City’s responsibility, and it has the data needed to do so, in this case, it may last for several months.”
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on September 26, 2021.