New York 'Van Life' Airbnb Rentals Were Shut Down After A YouTuber Reviewed One (VIDEO)

Downtown New York for less than $100 a night?

New York 'Van Life' Airbnb Rentals Were Shut Down After A YouTuber Reviewed One
Senior Editor

Are you one van short of living your #VanLife dream?

If so, you might want to be careful about booking someone else's RV on Airbnb, after police busted several unregistered vans that were being rented out on the streets of New York City — including one that appeared on YouTube.

The New York Sheriff and the NYPD towed away seven illegal camper vans in the city's East Village and Chelsea last week after a YouTuber revealed his not-so-glamourous glamping experience with one of the vehicles.

Three of the vans had expired New Jersey license plates, three others had plates from other cars and one wasn't registered at all, police told NBC New York.

That might explain why the owners seemed to shrug off all the parking tickets they were getting in some of New York's best neighbourhoods.

YouTuber Uptin Saiidi says he paid $97 to stay a night in one of the vans in the East Village last month. That's a steal when you compare it to the hundreds you'd pay for a hotel room, but Saiidi says he got exactly what he paid for.

"Of course I got excited when I saw an Airbnb listing for just $97 a night. But as they say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is," he said in his review.

$97/night RV Airbnb in NEW YORK

Saiidi says his Airbnb host told him to shower at the local pool, take bathroom breaks at a nearby Starbucks and dip into the bar down the street for late-night pee breaks.

That's not quite the minimalist dream that van lifers depict on Instagram, but who are we to judge?

Van life RV camper new york airbnb@Uptin | YouTube

The van itself had a bed, a funky smell and no air conditioning, Saiidi said. That meant he had to leave the window open and listen to the sounds of people passing his van in the middle of the night.

He added that he felt "shady" coming out of a van the next morning, although his sleep was surprisingly "cozy."

van camper interior new york airbnb@Uptin | YouTube

"It was a unique experience," Saiidi says in his video review. "I'm glad I did it but I would never do it again."

Saiidi says the listing had no reviews at the time, which is a pretty big red flag. The other red flag was that he couldn't get the van itself to start.

van airbnb new york@Uptin | YouTube

Police later shared photos of the same van being towed away as part of its crackdown, which they called Operation Room Service.

Airbnb says it has a "robust information-sharing agreement" with New York City, and that it regularly shares info about rentals with city officials.

"We do not tolerate this behavior," an Airbnb spokesperson told Narcity. "Both the host and listings in question have been banned from the Airbnb platform."

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Food & Drink and Lifestyle teams with a focus on entertainment interviews. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.