Saturday, April 28, 2012
City cracking down on illegal hotels
From the NY Times:
Armed with a new state law, the city has spent the past year cracking down on the growing industry of short-term rentals; since the law took effect last May, nearly 1,900 notices of violation have been issued at hundreds of residential buildings.
The new law made it illegal to rent out apartments in residential buildings for under 30 days. Owners of an apartment or a town house may still rent out one or two rooms, provided that they live in the home and everyone has access to common areas like the kitchen. Illegal hotels found by the city included small rental buildings, condos and town houses, and many of them were hiding in plain sight.
The Loftstel, a town house on Greene Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, advertised on Web sites, including a New York University site that offers suggestions for short-term housing. (N.Y.U. does not endorse the locations.)
Students and tourists came to the Loftstel from all over the world, said Tommy Walton, 56, who lives a few doors down. They threw “crazy parties,” he said, adding that he was once invited in by a guest and found a refrigerator packed with beer and vodka, but not a scrap of food.
During an inspection last year, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement found 44 guests in the house, inadequate smoke alarms and other unsafe conditions, problems the city says are common when residences are used for short-term lodging.
The building now stands vacant. The man behind the business, Jeff Pan, said he had “made a clean break from it.”