According to a front page article in today’s New York Times an Airbnb listed in what seems to be Trump Tower.
“The apartment has spacious windows, a sleek kitchen and expansive views of Manhattan. It boasts a prime location close to Central Park and Rockefeller Center and promises all the excitement of a luxury apartment in Midtown Manhattan.
And it was available for a substantial, but not completely unheard-of, price of about $300 to $450 a night through the home rental website Airbnb. Renters would just need to go through an extensive Secret Service screening downstairs.
The listing was taken down last week hours after The New York Times contacted Airbnb for comment. But the apartment had been available to rent since at least last September — long after the building that helped make Mr. Trump famous was turned into an operation center for his campaign. And it remained available, and as its Airbnb listing noted, quite popular, for about a month and a half after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.”
How the listing was able to float under the radar in such a high-profile building remains a mystery? It’s illegal in New York State to advertise and rent most apartments in New York City for fewer than 30 days, when the host is not present. When contacted, the owner did NOT want the Times writing a story either, as you can imagine.
It didn’t explicitly advertise that the apartment is in Trump Tower, and Airbnb doesn’t disclose the addresses until a stay is reserved. Two guests did say they had booked the apartment only to be surprised by the address they received in return: 721 Fifth Avenue. Nico Voigtländer, an associate professor at the University of California stayed there in November said,
“The host sent me the address, and then I called her and said, ‘I can’t find it, I only see the Trump Tower,’ She said, ‘It’s in the Trump Tower.’”
The listing said that the apartment was in “the most secure and unique building” but it’s unclear whether the Secret Service knew about it. Photos showed the buildings well-known exterior. The listing said,
“Politically neutral please. It is a specific building, so please — political opinions cannot be shown.”
It said that renters not engage in any political displays inside the building. Airbnb said through a spokesman that it had never been contacted by any law enforcement agency about the listing. The company, which has more than 3 million listings around the world, said it believed this was the first time a home in a building occupied by a head of state was available for rent on its site.
Spokesman, Nick Papas, said the company was looking into the matter.
“This is obviously a unique situation, so we’ve removed this listing from our platform.”
But the apartment’s availability on Airbnb before, during and after the election raises questions about how such a listing was permitted given the heavy security inside and outside Trump Tower.
Airbnb has been challenged by the issue of regulating illegal listings on its site, engaging in a contentious battle with New York City officials last year.
The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, which is in charge of enforcing local and state laws, said it would investigate the Trump Tower listing. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, which runs the building, said that under condominium rules, listing the units on Airbnb is not permitted.
(via The New York Times)