Thursday, July 1, 2010

State bill takes aim at illegal hotels

From the NY Times:

The Legislature is debating a bill that would attempt to stop landlords from converting apartments into hotel rooms without city permission, but the wording of the bill leaves open the possibility that tenants who sublet their apartments for short periods could technically be breaking the law as well.

State Senator Liz Krueger, one of the bill’s sponsors, said that legislators had wrestled over the wording for three years and it was therefore written carefully, though broadly. She said the bill could not attempt to individually address the seemingly infinite number of housing permutations that arise in a city in which moderately priced housing and hotels are scarce.

But people who regularly sublet their apartments while on vacation or extended work trips and organizations that help individuals, especially artists, find affordable short-term housing remained concerned that this law would close the door to a practice that is almost as old as apartment living itself.

The bill has received support from the Senate Democratic leader, John L. Sampson; tenants’ rights groups; the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer; and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It also has the backing of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, and the Hotel Association, whose members have endured competition from the converted hotels.

In the past few years, a number of building owners, particularly on the Upper West Side, have turned single-room-occupancy apartments into cheap, no-frills hotels catering to a young European clientele looking to stay in Manhattan for less than $100 a night. Long-term residents have complained about being harassed into leaving and about construction going on around them.


Anonymous said...

I am all for this bill. The house across the street from me is carved up into a rabbit warren of rooms using a rotating schedule to rent to Chinese and Mexican restaurant workers to maximize the usage of her rental space. The woman who owns the place seems to have found a ready stream of men to fill this single family house by providing subtle amenities such as hiring very young women (free room and board) to clean, cook and what ever else to service the men on a fee bases.

Needless to say, there is a steady turnover as this also appears to be a safe house for those who immediately arrive to these shores illegally.

NYC government encourages this living arrangement and refuses to investigate the illegal use of housing that would otherwise be contrary to the building's CO and would never meet safety codes anywhere.

The lesson learned in the past suggests that there will be a high probability of a lethal event such as an electrical fire starting and the occupants unable to be rescued because of the many oddly placed, built walls built to maximize sleeping quarters, rather than a traditional layout of the single family house it is certified to be.

Anonymous said...

they should go after the idiots to rent out one and two week shares in filthy dumps on Craigs List or Quentin's List.