First Sonder, then an armed robbery at 20 Broad

The Post had the story: Police said a group of six armed men knocked on the door of an apartment at 20 Broad at around midnight Sunday, hit a 20-year-old man in the head and then ransacked the living room during a party, making off with $3k worth of clothing and jewelry. Police also said no one was hurt.

But this was not a typical apartment. The 27-story office building was converted to residential in 2016, and last fall, Sonder, a short-term rental company based in San Francisco, took 169 units, or the lower eight floors, according to The Real Deal. City laws would usually prohibit the use, but Sonder found a loophole with a building that is zoned for a hotel. The company works sort of like Airbnb and a hotel suite; it manages big groups of apartments that have no full-time tenant. They are furnished and stocked by Sonder.

And the real residents of the building — which bills itself as luxury rentals — have had enough of their transient neighbors. M. wrote to say, “This situation is outrageous. There are about 500 units and we were told Sonder was operating only three floors. It now seems there are Sonder units on the majority of the floors with access to all building amenities.”

On top of that, the management didn’t tell residents about the robbery, instead they read about it in The Post a couple days later. “We are still looking for answers,” M. said.

Sonder now has units in 95 Wall, 116 John, 180 Water and a building at Hanover Square, as well as others in buildings across the city.

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  1. Renters DO NOT mix with owners. Buyer beware. I would never own in a building that allows renters, especially anything of luxury. You are just asking for real trouble from these people.

    • 20 Broad is a RENTAL building and NOT a Condo. Nonetheless, most people don’t want to feel like they live in a hotel, even if they don’t own their apartments.

  2. Im more interested in finding out how those guys got in. Sonder runs their “hotel rooms” remotely for the most part. But regardless I assume the building has a doorman?

  3. My daughter lives in this RENTAL apartment building. No condos here…..residents were told that SONDER would occupy lower floors only with no access to common areas. SONDER units are EVERYWHERE in the building on all floors and they do have access to all common areas. Metroloft has not been honest with tenants at all….expect a mass exodus when renewals start happening……

    • The Sonder units outside of the first 9 floors are only for long-term rentals, meaning a minimum of 29 days. Those are the people that get access to the amenities, and they have been more strict recently to make sure short-term Sonder guests are not using them. I have seen them kicked out of the lounges. The long-term renters should go through a background check just like residents had to, though.

  4. So the six individuals got past the 24 hour concierge and entered the building and got on an elevator monitored by a camera and targeted a short-term rental on the 9th floor. These short-term rentals in residential buildings are a menace.

  5. The worst thing about this is that Bold NY and MetroLoft NEVER disclosed the presence of Sonder or any short term rentals happening in the building to renters during showings or at LEASE SIGNING! This is illegal, unethical, and down right slimy business and should be punished to the maximum extent of the law!

  6. The Sonder unit that was robbed was somehow rented out for 1 night for a birthday party. It doesn’t make sense because Sonder is specifically for long term longs (30+ nights) and NO parties are allowed. I’m surprised Sonder isn’t taking this incident more seriously given the AirBNB shooting in the news.

  7. As a friend of mine lives in 20 Broad, I considered renting in the building last year, but decided against it when I learned Sonder would be operating there. What has happened there is terrible, and my thoughts are with those affected. But I have even greater concerns about this situation and the risk it poses to neighbors and others. The NYSE is next door—quite literally. One must understand that the stock exchange is a soft target. There are vehicle barricades surrounding the entire periphery for precisely this reason. The stations are manned with guards and security dogs carrying out searches for explosives. But what is to prevent someone from booking through Sonder, bringing in suitcases full of explosives, walking out and detonating the bombs remotely to take down the NYSE and surrounding buildings? Sonder carries out no background checks, and pedestrians with luggage—unlike vehicles—are not screened in the area. Homeland Security needs to be alerted to Sonder’s activity in the building. No one wants to see an incident here.

  8. In San Francisco, where they clearly weren’t aware of the staggering amount of hotel fraud that the City has, they allow you to book these $8,000 a month apartments the same way you would book a hotel room. Well, here’s the thing: the minimum stay for any Sonder unit is 30 days, and San Francisco tenancy laws automatically make any person living in a place a tenant after 24 days, regardless of how the unit was originally paid for. And Sonder has a thing called seamless booking where you just plug in credit card number, expiry, cvv and billing zip, AND THEY ONLY DO A SOFT PREAUTH!! The card doesn’t get hard charged until after you’ve checked out!! And in the rare instance that the card holder didn’t recognize the pre-authorization on his statement, it’s most likely been well over 24 days by the time Sonder gets wind of it. So for the fraudster tenants it’s no longer a criminal matter, it’s a civil one, and they have to evict you!! Who the hell runs the security department at that place?? Hilarious!!