NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With more people coming and going during the holidays, short-term rentals in the city are in high demand, but property managers are warning tenants that some of the listings could be illegal.

In a city bustling with people searching for a cheap place to stay, illegal short-term rentals are popping up left and right.

Lower Manhattan resident Katherine Wachsman says her daughter paid the price when a renter transformed her SoHo apartment into an illegal operation.

“She gets word through the super in the building that there were people coming and going in that apartment, every few days: Young people, old people, some noisy,” said Wachsman.

A property manager CBS2 spoke to for perspective, Mark Elman, says illegal short term rentals are a problem year-round but particularly during the holidays.

He is currently investigating cases inside three of his buildings.

“There is a lot of concern about people coming and going from these buildings that people don’t know who they are, they haven’t been vetted, they haven’t been acknowledged or approved,” said Elman.

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Real estate attorneys say watch out for signs of illegal activity.

They say there are telltale signs families should look for.

“Especially when you have a lot of suitcases coming in and out, that’s the obvious one,” said real estate attorney Massimo D’Angelo.

The city says tenants should also check for key lockboxes, look for unfamiliar faces, and be wary of noise not characteristic of your neighborhood.

If tenants see something, they should call 311.

“You want to let your doorman know, you want to check and pull all your security and surveillance system,” said D’Angelo.

Attorneys say tenants should also call the building owner and property manager.

Those who illegally rent out their unit can face fines or even be evicted.


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