The city is suing a Manhattan landlord and building management company for offering up illegal short-term rentals through Airbnb in seven different rent stabilized buildings in Hell’s Kitchen. Big Apple Management, LLC, the landlord in question, was already on the public advocate’s 100 worst landlords in NYC list, and its seven buildings in Hell’s Kitchen have already been the subject of at least 50 illegal hotel complaints since 2011.
These seven buildings are all located on West 47th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Aside from the hotel complaints, there are about 150 building and fire violations against these seven buildings, which resulted in $120,000 in fines, of which the landlord still owes $90,000.
“Every day, tenants in New York City are being forced out of their homes due to landlord harassment and skyrocketing rents, and illegal hotel operators like Big Apple Management are emblematic of this crisis,” said City Council Speaker, Corey Johnson, in a statement.
This is now the 13th lawsuit the city has filed against landlords illegally using buildings as hotels or short-term rentals. Hell’s Kitchen has been one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, according to the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, and has lost a lot of rent-stabilized units as a result.
In recent years, the city has enforced a major crackdown on illegal Airbnb rentals; A Manhattan couple was hit with a $1 million fine in April for illegal listings, a Lower East Side landlord was the subject of a $1.2 million lawsuit last summer, and a Chelsea landlord was sued earlier this year for converting rent-stabilized apartments into short-term rentals.
A spokesperson for Airbnb issued the following statement to Curbed after this latest crackdown:
“Airbnb strongly opposes illegal hotels, period. That’s why we’ve worked to identify and remove more than 5,000 listings that do not reflect our vision for our community and our one host, one home policy, and why we have actively sought to make strict enforcement the law of the land. It’s also why we urge the City Council to work with us to take action against these few bad actors, while still protecting the rights of regular New Yorkers who are responsibly sharing their home.”