By David Freedlander | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are more than 200 apartment buildings in the city that have been illegally converted to hotels, according to a report released Sunday, significantly reducing the number of rent-stabilized units available.
"It's hard enough to find housing in this city as it is," said John Raskin, director of organizing at Housing Conservation Coordinators, an affordable housing group that released the report. "The last thing we need is to lose more apartments to the illegal hotel industry."
Illegal hotel operators frequently take advantage of tax loopholes designed to encourage the construction of residential units, according to Raskin.
Legal tenants then face harassment and in some cases illegal eviction notices in order to chase them out of their homes, the report found.
The mayor's office said they are continuing to work with the city council to find a solution to the problem.
Advocates are calling for increased penalties and changes in the zoning laws to clarify where hotels can and cannot operate.
Report: 200 illegal hotels exist in the city