Short term rentals are illegal, but sometimes it's hard to prove if a tenant is actually renting out his or her apartment as a hotel room. So what's a landlord to do? Hire a private detective and pose as as wannabe renter, according to the Post. The owners of 250 Elizabeth Street in Nolita ponied up $20,000 for an undercover investigator to catch a tenant illegally renting her unit on Airbnb and Roomarama. The detective queried about the unit through the websites, getting a confirmation from the tenant about the address, giving the landlords grounds for their lawsuit.
The unit in question is a $1,400/month rent stabilized apartment leased to Amy Parness, who charged $220 per night for rentals. The listing is no longer active on Airbnb. The lawsuit alleges that not only did she illegal rent her unit, but she also "handled the subletting of two other tenants' pads in the eight-unit building, taking a cut for her services." The landlords are seeking her eviction. The court papers estimate that Parness made about $500,000 from renting her unit out over the last four years, so hopefully she's put some of that aside so she can pay for her legal fees and find a new apartment.
· Nolita Landlords Say Tenant Earned $500K over 4 Years by Illegally Renting Out Apartment as a NYC 'Hotel Room' [NYP]
· Short Term Rental coverage [Curbed]