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Cost of an Illegal Hotel Room May Increase

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Sad news: the cost of staying in an illegal hotel room may increase. A City Council bill was introduced yesterday to significantly increase the fines for illegally converted units up to $20,000 a pop for repeat offenders. (First offenses, though, would be $1,000 to $5,000.) Some units on the bootleg hotel market were previously rent-controlled and SRO apartments. Put on the market as hotel rooms, they can bring in $125 and up a night. The city already has an Illegal Hotels Taskforce, but the bill's sponsors say that fines are so low that operators write them off as the cost of doing business. The Times estimates that there are 200 buildings, mostly in Manhattan, with illegal hotel rooms and the paper directs readers to woogo.com, furnishedrentals.com and craigslist.org. No word on whether the bill will set up an undercover tourist program to bust contraband hotel operators.
· Council Plans Heftier Fines for Apartments Used as Hotels [NYT]
· Need a Hotel? Check Out the Apartment Bldg Next Door [Curbed]
· Hey...Psst...You Need a Hotel Room? [Curbed]