Airbnb removes Trump home listing after partial vacate order issued

Airbnb removes Trump home listing after partial vacate order issued
By Mark Hallum

President Donald Trump’s boyhood home in Jamaica estates, recently listed on Airbnb after being sold at auctions, was hit with a partial vacate order by the city Dept. of Buildings in late August. Citing an illegal conversion of the basement into an apartment without the required means of egress for occupants was the reason for the vacate order last month.

The home at 85-15 Wareham Road, cited on the president’s birth certificate, appeared on the website in June and uses the property’s history as a selling point for visitors. It boasts 17 beds and mentions the location’s proximity to the F train. The five-bedroom house sold at auction in March for $2.1 million.

Originally listed for $750 per night, the listing has since been removed from the site.

This follows a back-and-forth between state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and the home-share company in August over a bill the Queens politician hoped to pass that would require Airbnb renters to follow the same regulations as any other hotel.

“Airbnb’s unwelcome proliferation in neighborhoods in my district, mostly by absentee commercial operators, has created a public nuisance and public safety risks that are simply unacceptable,” Avella said in August. “If Airbnb wants to act like a hotel, then it must be subject to the same basic transparency and disclosure requirements that all legal lodging establishments in the city of New York are responsible for.”

Avella has led a crusade against the rental website stemming from resident complaints about listings in his district, but laughed at an August news conference about the fact Trump’s home had even fallen victim to what he believes to be an epidemic in the suburban Queens neighborhood.

Avella commented that most presidential homes go on to become museums and landmarks while this is not the case for Trump.

“This is one of the millions of Airbnb listings in 65,000 cities around the world that offer travelers the chance to stay in homes and communities they might have missed if they stayed in a traditional hotel,” Airbnb spokesman Peter Schottenfels. “All hosts, whether they are a home-owner or an official bed and breakfast, must affirm that they follow all safety laws and regulations.”

The listing said guests can enjoy the company of a cardboard cutout of the president while watching Fox News in the living room.

“POTUS – Donald J. Trump’s childhood home,” the listing reads. “Stay in the heart of NYC in the president’s childhood home. Featured in hundreds of news articles, stay in a part of living history.”

A photo of one of the rooms shows a sign on the wall that says, “In this bedroom, President Donald J. Trump was likely conceived by his parents, Fred and Mary Trump. The world has never been the same.”

Trump lived in the home from the time of his birth in 1946 until 1950.

Acris records show the property was sold in December 2016 to Wareham Holdings LLC— which CNN Money associates with real estate investor Michael Davis — for $1.3 million. The March transaction is shown to take place between this organization and another listed as “Trump Birth House, LLC.”

If the CNN Money report is correct, Davis flipped the property for a 54 percent profit to another company, harvesting rental revenue from the president’s Queens legacy.

An organization known as Oxfam recently rented the house to shelter four Syrian refugees.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.