City Hall has continued its crusade against illegal short-term rentals by slapping landlords who illegally convert residential buildings and rent them out on a nightly basis with nearly $300,000 in penalties during the month of July alone.
The New York City Department of Buildings issued 43 violations and $285,375 in penalties against landlords for illegal transient use of 11 different buildings, the agency announced last week. The biggest offender was Hank Freid‘s Branic International Realty Co., which racked up $55,000 in violations for illegally converting a residential building at 2690 Broadway on the Upper West Side into the Marrakech Hotel. The city is already suing Freid, the owner of the Marrakech and two other walkups in the neighborhood, for illegally operating his single-room-occupancy buildings as hotels, as Commercial Observer previously reported. Freid’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Although the city has long prohibited renting out apartments and homes as hotels, the rise of vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Homeaway.com have driven a corresponding increase in enforcement against illegal short-term sublets from city agencies.