An “unscrupulous” Airbnb host is being sued by the city after he allegedly converted four apartments into illegal hotel listings that misled renters, placing them in hazardous living conditions, according to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE).
The lawsuit was brought against David Schuchter De Oliveira by OSE on behalf of 10 unnamed plaintiffs who detailed horror stories of being duped into staying in illegally converted apartments in Manhattan, sometimes with dozens of other guests at the same time. Schuchter De Oliveira rents, but does not own the apartments, three of which are located in rent-stabilized buildings, per a city spokeswoman.
One plaintiff, David, said he was led to believe he was renting a room in a young couple’s guest bedroom with quality amenities and access to a shared living space, bathroom and kitchen.
“I first sensed something dubious about the host/listing when the key pick-up instructions sent me on a clandestine mission, several blocks from the apartment, to pick up keys from inside a small lockbox attached to a public telephone booth,” he said, adding that he realized it was an illegal Airbnb as soon as he walked into the apartment.
David said the two-bedroom unit had been converted into a hostel-like hotel with five bedrooms, each with their own lock, one bathroom and no common areas.
“Each bedroom was furnished to sleep up to six people, except for the kitchen which had been converted into a bedroom with a single bed,” he added.