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We get horror stories about apartment renting in the US in the papers here in Australia periodically. However we're potentially looking to stay in NYC over New Year's with a few friends, so apartment renting also seems the most practical accommodation.

Is there a particularly reputable site that does verification of its holiday rentals? Conversely are there some that should be avoided? I notice TripAdvisor has some holiday rentals listed - where do they fall?

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One thing to be careful about is that many AirBNB style rentals are actually illegal in New York City. Specifically, if the building has three or more units (almost all buildings), then the entire apartment cannot be rented out for a short term stay. (Though, if the host is still around and you're just renting a bedroom, that's perfectly legal.) So, unless you're renting for a month or more as a sublet (and even then, there are other legal issues possibly), be very careful of who you deal with for an apartment rental in NYC. While services like AirBNB are still flush with listings, many of them are only up because of AirBNB's lax policy in taking them down, and I've heard at least a few horror stories of landlords catching wind of such an arrangement and ruining somebodies vacation.

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You might want to quote laws here. –  Karlson Jun 20 '12 at 12:20
    
@Karlson Link to legislation added: public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYDATA=MDW4 –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jun 20 '12 at 13:11
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Another brilliant move by the NY legislature. Bravo to the hotel industry. –  Karlson Jun 20 '12 at 13:49
    
There's a big push by the BnB owners' group to get that legislation changed, as it's harming traditional business as well. However, yes, it's still technically illegal in NYC. –  Mark Mayo Jul 31 '12 at 21:27
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