Huntbnb Offers Landlords And Officials A Watchdog Tool

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Frustrated neighbors, code enforcement offers, landlords and others affected by excessive turnover or noise in their neighborhood may have an answer to their share-house prayers—Huntbnb.

Designed for landlords to investigate whether their tenants are renting to third parties through internet sites, Huntbnb allows users to enter an exact address into a search engine that then scans Airbnb for any listings associated with or near that address. Because Airbnb does not disclose the exact address of listings, Huntbnb uses the location provided by the user to pull up listings within a nearby radius.

For example, searching “Osborne Lane, East Hampton NY” renders two results—one on Osborne Lane and one on Pleasant Lane, just one block across Newtown Lane from the given address.

East Hampton Town’s director of public safety, David Betts, said he had not heard of the site, but that the department does look for forms of technology to crack down on the excessive turnovers in rentals.

The East Hampton Town Code allows owners to rent their homes for fewer than 15 days twice in a six-month period. Anything in excess of that amount is a violation.

“We utilize all of the resources that are available to us,” said East Hampton Town’s director of code enforcement, Betsy Bambrick, in an email. “Modern technology has enabled these sites to flourish—but certainly assists us as well.”

While a listing on Airbnb or another rental site alone is not a violation of the town code, Ms. Bambrick has said, Code Enforcement does scan sites where homes are listed repeatedly to keep an eye out for uses that may be illegal.

“While there’s a presumption that this [excessive turnover] is going on, we can’t use that alone to determine if there’s a violation,” she said. “It’s a good resource to look at to see what the availability is, and what the time frame is, but a listing on a website is not enough for a violation.”

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