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Airbnb advertising law results in steep fines for Manhattan landlord

Hank Freid will be required to pay a total of $27,000 in fines for newly discovered illegal listings

Peter Zoon via Flickr

UPDATE: The city has hit Manhattan landlord Hank Freid with another $15,000 in fines for advertising units at an apartment building turned hotel at 258 West 97th Street, reports The Real Deal. These 15 new violations add to the 12 outstanding ones that Freid already incurred for illegal advertisements for units at the Marrakech Hotel on various travel sites. Freid’s attorney claims that the city is retaliating against his client for beating previous Department of Buildings violations. Freid along with former realtor Tatiana Cames were the city’s first to be charged with fines under Governor Cuomo’s new legislation.

A first set of fines have been doled out in connection to a new law that makes advertising apartments for stays of less than 30 days on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites illegal. According to the New York Post, Manhattan landlord Hank Freid and former realtor Tatiana Cames for Corcoran and more recently, Compass, were both hit with multiple violations for allegedly posting illegal listings for apartments on the Upper West Side and in Bed-Stuy.

Fried, who works as a property manager at the Marrakech Hotel on Broadway and West 103rd Street, incurred a total of 12 violations for listing single room occupancy (SROs) on a series of travel booking sites, including Kayak and Expedia. Cames, meanwhile, was given five violations, one for each listing posted to Airbnb for apartments at 320 Macon Street in Brooklyn. Cames also had the short-term rental units listed for permanent rent on her personal site. Additionally, there were several building violations at the property owned by Cames, including illegal subdivisions and faulty fire alarms. Both Fried and Cames will be required to pay $1,000 per violation.

A screenshot of one of the Bed-Stuy apartments illegally advertised on Airbnb
Mayor’s Office via Gothamist

After Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law in October, Airbnb filed suit against both New York State and the city, claiming that the bill was a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights and that it would negatively impact middle-class families seeking to earn extra income.

However, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office stated that its objective was to crack down on individuals operating illegal hotels by listing multiple properties, not people just trying to make a few extra dollars by listing their homes.

Both suits have since been settled outside of court, and as we previously reported, “New York City vows not to impose fines against Airbnb and only against the site users who violate the law by operating illegal hotels.”

When contacted by the Post, a lawyer for Fried called the fine a “misapplication of the law.” Cames could not be reached.