Stakeouts and 'Private Eyes': Monitoring Short-Term Rentals for Tenants' Rights
David M. Levitt reports on some of the new tactics employed by tenants and tenants' advocates to monitor the practices of Airbnb hosts. The article begins with the story of Michael Joffe, who works for a tenants' lawyer by monitoring properties that have recently evicted tenants. "The goal of the stakeout was to uncover, and document, smoking-gun proof that the landlord is violating city ordinances limiting the use of private homes for short-term rentals," explains Levitt.
Joffe thus is a kind of housing "private eye," taking pictures and sitting stakeout on illegal rental practices. And business is good, according to Levitt: "with municipal governments lacking the staffing to enforce housing ordinances, there’s no shortage of work for private eyes like Joffe."
Levitt includes anecdotes illustrating the new depths of the battles between tenants and Airbnb from cities like San Francisco and New York, while also surveying new policies regulating short-term rentals in cities like New Orleans.