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.