Friday, May 26, 2017

NYC Belts Landlord With $1.2 Million Lawsuit Alleging Violations Of Local Ordinance Prohibiting Short Term Rentals Without Being Properly Licensed

In New York City, the New York Post reports:
  • The city just unleashed its biggest ever crackdown on a landlord illegally using Airbnb.

    Lower East Side building owner Rose King has been slammed with a $1.2 million lawsuit by city lawyers alleging she illegally rented a slew of units in three buildings through the short-term rental service.

    King has been hiding behind a middle man and at least nine aliases to create a network of transient hotels at 536 E. 14th St., 123 Ludlow St., and 127 Rivington St., according to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.

    And one of the building’s permanent residents told city officials that King is trying to evict rent-stabilized tenants from her properties to convert even more units into cash-cow ­Airbnbs, sources said.

    The city will ask a judge in an emergency hearing [] to shut down King’s alleged operation.

    “It’s outrageous, it’s illegal, and we will stop bad actors from hurting our neighborhoods,” Mayor de Blasio said. “New Yorkers can’t afford to see affordable homes turned into hotels.”

    King’s operation is run “with coordinated efficiency to maximize profits” through cohort Bryan Chan, documents say.

    Chan “is openly and deceptively using at least nine different identities and 33 distinct Airbnb accounts” to advertise 12 units in the three buildings, according to court papers.

    Chan goes by different first names on Airbnb but uses the same photo for at least two of his host profiles under the names “Ryan” and “Sam,” the suit says.

    The rentals are described as “cozy studios” and “comfy and cozy apartment in LES” and go for around $85 a night.

    The multiple aliases violate Airbnb’s “one host, one home” policy for the Big Apple, the suit notes.

    It also is illegal in the city to rent out a place for fewer than 30 days without being properly licensed as a hotel or bed and breakfast or another similar business.

    At 123 Ludlow Sunday, two tourists from California told The Post they had reservations for a one-bedroom there through Wednesday. They lamented they had been waiting outside for two hours with their luggage to meet up with the person renting the pad.

    King and Chan did not return messages for comment.

    Airbnb said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for illegal hotels on our platform in New York and have removed these listings while we investigate this situation.”

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