Every now and then these scam stories can give me a real ki and this one really has me rolling. Boston woman Rachel Valerio thought she came up when she found a $90-a-night apartment in New York City on Airbnb.
Well, sis was hoodwinked, pun intended, when she pulled up to the spot and discovered that she’d be spending her vacation in a New York City Housing Authority complex in Chelsea.
Valerio told the New York Times that the apartment was highly rated on Airbnb but in real life, the whole spot smelled like gas and there was a roach trap next to the bed.
“Then I saw the letters N-Y-C-H-A in the lobby,” Valerio said. She hopped on Google to find out what that acronym stood for and quickly learned she was staying in the ‘jects.
So why is it a scam? Subletting government-subsidized housing is illegal.
In New York City, it is also illegal for someone to rent an apartment for fewer than 30 days unless the host of the rental is present during the stay, making many listings on Airbnb illegal.
Valerio didn’t seem to upset about the whole thing though. I mean her rental was near the Chelsea market.
While she said she sympathized with the host’s side hustle, Valerio felt compelled to report the apartment to Airbnb so she could get that money back.
“It feels very awful,” Valerio, 29, said of knowing she stayed in an apartment meant for people struggling to make ends meet. “I grew up poor, and I know how hard it is to get housing.”
It is unclear whether the host, who only went by the name Rachel on her Airbnb profile, is a NYCHA resident.
“I don’t know what you’re speaking about,” she told the Times when reached by phone before hanging up.
Roommates, what are your thoughts on this one? Let us know!