U.S. Open a goldmine for homeowners?

July 27, 2009 3:55:52 PM PDT
Dozens of "for rent" signs are up in one neighborhood in Queens. Homeowners looking to make some fast money are renting their homes for the upcoming U.S. Open Tennis Championships at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. It can net quite a profit. But not everyone is happy about it.

"It might be weird having someone in your home that you don't know, but could be nice when the check comes rolling in," resident Matt Cruz said.

That stranger Cruz is talking about could be one of the thousands of tennis aficionados who, come August 31st, will fill the seats at the U.S. Open.

Initially, when Cruz saw a sign pop up outside of his home in Corona, he thought he was being evicted, game over. But it was actually the brain child of an Arizona-based company, targeting homeowners living near the USTA National Tennis Center - Leave your keys to strangers and you get paid $2,000 a day for a 3-bedroom home, or nearly $11,000 for a mini mansion.

"Obviously in these times, you have to consider it for the amount of money," Cruz said. "I could stay at a hotel for a couple of weeks or shack up with a friend."

A representative for the company says about a dozen homeowners are playing ball with them, and that most renters are from corporate America. The homeowner pays a non-refundable set-up fee, about $1,200 for a single listing, and then a licensed real estate broker takes it from there.

But not everyone is thrilled with the idea, even going as far as taking down the posters. They worry people's desire to get fast cash will have a negative impact on the neighborhoods.

"It seems sleazy and shabby," area resident Mel Siegel said.

Siegel is active in the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association and he, like others, believes the money-making idea has a great potential for mischief.

"The people who would do this have no regard for the neighborhood, no regard for the people who live here," he said. "It cheapens the neighborhood, this is not a transient neighborhood."

But he's hoping the signs disappear as quickly as they arrived.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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