Septuagenarian Penn South resident David Shea is being evicted after his co-op board used a sting operation to catch him renting out his private terrace on short-term rental sites AirBnB and Roomorama. Although the case bears certain similarities to the recent one in which AirBnB got a decision against an East Village user overturned, there is one key difference—Shea's apartment is
rent-stabilized subsidized, which makes renting it for profit a much bigger problem in the eyes of the city. While Shea is currently searching for pro bono legal representation as he appeals his eviction in State Supreme Court (so far he's been representing himself, which hasn't gone well) AirBnB has not yet offered to pitch in like they did with other case.
The more interesting part of this, however, might be that the Penn South co-op board is hiring private investigators to infiltrate illegal rentals and using their reports to evict people. Shea is the sixth resident to get caught in the past year and, out of the previous five, three went without a fight while two fought the evictions and lost. And regardless of the fact that he broke the rules, it's difficult not to feel bad for Shea, who says that he began taking in guests after his therapist suggested that it might help him with feelings of isolation and depression. Now he's worried that once the eviction is made official he'll end up homeless.
· After Renting Out a Terrace, an Eviction Notice [NYT]
· AirBnB coverage [Curbed]