The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement has handed down a $1 million judgement to a couple that used websites like Airbnb to illegally list at least seven units within Manhattan buildings, reports Politico (h/t The Real Deal).
In 2014, the city hit Mina Guirguis and Szilvia Patkos with a lawsuit for illegally operating as a hotel under the guise of City Oases LLC, renting out apartments within the buildings at 5 West 31st Street and 59 Fifth Avenue for fewer than 30 days. Since Governor Andrew Cuomo passed legislation that imposes fines up to $7,500 on Airbnb users who advertise illegal short-term rentals, the city has been cracking down on offenders.
Earlier this year, the city brought a lawsuit against the landlord of a four-story walk-up at 156 West 15th Street, for operating the building as an illegal hotel despite numerous complaints, enforcement actions, and fines. In December 2017, a Lower East Side building owner had to pay the city $1.2 million as settlement in a suit for allegedly renting out several apartments in three buildings, making it the largest ever settlement with the city regarding an illegal hotel case.
In a statement to Politico, Guirguis and Patkos stated that their business was legal and that the city unfairly targeted them. The pair are planning on working to bring a class action suit against the city with other groups of short-term rental hosts that have been penalized, citing “unlawful vacate orders, evictions, and unfair prosecutions.”
- City obtains $1M judgement against illegal hotel operators [Politico]
- City wins $1M judgment against couple who illegally Airbnb’d [The Real Deal]
- Chelsea landlord who converted rent-stabilized units to Airbnb listings hit with lawsuit [Curbed]
- Lower East Side landlord hit with $1.2M lawsuit over illegal Airbnb listings [Curbed]