Host Faces $2400 Fine After Judge Rules Airbnb Rental Illegal

The outlook isn’t good for those seeking cheap accommodations in New York; CNET is reporting Nigel Warren, a tenant who leased out his rented apartment through Airbnb, now faces a $2,400 fine for breaking a state law.

The news outlet reports that although Airbnb stepped in to defend the host, it was ruled the rental infringed upon the illegal hotel law, a statute banning property owners from renting their homes on a temporary basis when they are not present. The fine was originally issued to the landlord, but Warren officially accepted responsibility for posting the listing online.

Earlier this year, it was found that nearly half of Airbnb’s New York listings were actually illegal under the law, which prohibits stays of less than 30 days where the owner of the property is absent. Hosts and renters in and out of New York should tread carefully: there’s a potential that more people could run into issues with the law, especially in cities where regulations are not clear cut.

Want to know if your New York rental is legal or not? has put together nice cheat sheet to help tenants (and travelers) out.

[via Gizmodo]

Editor’s Note: Due to erroneous data from our source, a previously published version of this story incorrectly identified all Airbnb rentals in New York as illegal.

Mission To Mars Planned By Private Space Leaders

When we last heard from Dennis Tito, it was when the New York-born American engineer was catching a $20 million ride on the International Space Station. That was in 2001 and he did so against the wishes of NASA, instead hitting up the Russian Federal Space Agency for the lift. Now, 20+ years later, Tito plans a trip to Mars in a venture that should make him the first human ever to walk on the red planet.

On what looks to be a 500-day round trip voyage to Mars, Tito’s newly formed Inspiration Mars Foundation teases “plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch a historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018,” reports CNET.

Details are few right now but clarity will come next week during a press conference scheduled for February 27, 2013, at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., moderated by CNN’s Miles O’Brien.

Speculation on how the flight will go includes wondering if an actual landing on Mars will occur or if the private mission will simply (as though this is simple in any way) be a fly-by. At nearly 70 years old by the time the proposed flight happens, time is of the essence for Tito.Also involved in the project is Paragon Space Development Corporation most recently involved with the life-support systems in the Red Bull Stratos Space Jumper, world’s-highest sky dive in 2012. That was nothing new for them either, as original members of the Biosphere 2 sealed dome life-support for the experiment of the early 1990s.

Add it all up and these private space leaders could very well pull it off. We’ll find out more details on the plan next week.

Want to know more about the idea of a mission to Mars? Check this video:

[Photo Credit – Flickr user Amitabh T]

Robots To Take On World Of Hotels (VIDEO)

The world of hotels may never be the same if iRobots has its way. Pilot programs in the target industries of health care, retail and building security are slated to start soon. Will a machine make our hotel bed in the future? What if I was asleep and it was time to change the bed? How might this affect me?

“So much of robotics has to do with physical motion –navigation around our environment and doing increasingly high-level tasks – it makes these two initial markets (of military and home cleaning) seem pedestrian versus the dream of what’s possible,” said CEO Colin Angle.

A Cnet reports introduces us to “Ava” which is iRobot’s three-wheeled pedestal-shaped robot that sports a tablet computer as “her” head. The plan is for Ava to help her parent company, which makes remote-controlled cyber-sneaky military drones, to move beyond that into something more helpful.

In tests, Ava was able to navigate the offices based on a map that it had generated in its “head.” Cnet asks, “Will we someday walk into our favorite hotel and find Ava the iRobot ready to escort us to our room – instead of a $30,000-a-year human?”


The report suggests that Ava the robot may be able to handle repetitive tasks that require specific knowledge to complete. Leading a Wal-Mart customer to the isle that has widgets could be done. Walking the kids home from school would be something to think about.