Four Tips for Identifying an Illegal Hotel in Your Neighborhood

You choose to live in a neighborhood, not a hotel. Yet, there’s a good chance one of your neighbors is operating an illegal hotel or “faux-tel” out of their residential property, renting it out to new strangers each night via Airbnb, without paying the proper taxes or following the common-sense safety and zoning regulations that every other lodging business follows for the safety and security of guests and the community.

Here are some tips for spotting an illegal hotel in your neighborhood:

  1. Do you often see strangers coming in and out of your building or down your street with luggage?

If you see strangers coming in and out with luggage, this could be a sign of an illegal hotel operation. If your neighbor is leaving a key for these strangers via a lock box or other mechanism, they are putting your safety and security at risk as well.

  1. Do you often hear unruly noise at odd times of the day and night?

Airbnb creates a high turnover of guests in residential areas, who come for the night and can often bring noise and partying to quiet neighborhoods, unaware or in complete disregard of the appropriate environment of the community.

  1. Are your rent prices going up? Are many of your neighbors moving away because they can no longer afford their apartments?

Many times, in tight rental markets, Airbnb causes rent prices to soar, because landlords can make more money renting units out nightly to short-term tourists than long-term tenants. This strips valuable housing stock off the market, causing rents to go up, and often results in landlords kicking their tenants out to make way for short-term rentals.

  1. Have you noticed the degrading condition of a neighbor’s apartment?

When landlords are running illegal hotel businesses out of their apartments, they often avoid basic health and safety regulations, as Airbnb doesn’t require compliance like a legal, full-time rental would. This can put consumers at huge risk, as well as neighbors who could also suffer from the poor condition of the apartment if an incident were to occur, such as toxic mold or a fire.

Have you a found a faux-tel? REPORT IT. If you notice any of these signs of illegal hotels in your neighborhood, speak up to protect yourself and your neighbors by reporting it to your local policymakers. You can also share it with our investigative team here.