Friday, April 14, 2017

NYC To Local Landlords: Police Your Tenants Against Using Airbnb To Peddle Short Stay Rates Behind Your Back Or We'll Stick You With The Tab For Fines, Lawsuits

In New York City, Kings County Politics reports:
  • Recently, the City has been ramping up enforcement of its illegal transient occupancy laws in efforts to curb illegal occupancies stemming from websites such as Airbnb.

    Curiously, the City is not going after the illegal shortterm occupant or the individual illegally renting out his or her apartment. Rather, the City is ticketing—and sometimes even suing—the landlord of the building in which the illegal transient occupancy is occurring. Illegal transient occupancies present an extraordinary legal and financial risk to landlords, especially out-of-possession landlords. Enforcement in this area has been especially arbitrary and burdensome against out-of-possession landlords, who realistically cannot stop their tenants from using services such as Airbnb.
    ***
    What if Tenant A’s landlord is not aware of Tenant A’s activities?

    Section 28-210.3 of the New York City Administrative Code (“Admin. Code”) makes it unlawful “for any person or entity who owns or occupies a multiple dwelling or dwelling unit classified for permanent residence purposes to use or occupy, offer or permit the use or occupancy or to convert for use or occupancy such multiple dwelling or dwelling unit for other than permanent residence purposes” (emphasis added). The City is using the word “permit” to levy fines and commence litigation against out of possession landlords who had no knowledge of their tenants’ activities.

    For example, in The City of New York v. NYC Midtown LLC, et al. the City fined the owner of a three floor walk-up building for a three-day Airbnb occupancy occurring in one of the units behind the landlord’s back.

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