Top Tags

NY Post: Landlords planning more evictions after Airbnb ruling

By Julia Marsh, 2/21

The Manhattan attorney who won a watershed case evicting a tenant who cashed in on his rent-stabilized pad by treating it like a hotel has received a flood of queries from landlords who want to boot other profiteers.

“I believe [the decision] will galvanize a lot of landlords to commence actions where they see this abuse,” said Todd Nahins, who says he fielded 25 e-mails and six calls just hours after The Post exclusively revealed the Housing Court decision.

Before Judge Jack Stoller declared this week that “using a residential apartment as a hotel and profiteering off of it is ground for eviction,” building owners weren’t sure of their odds in court.

“I think the landlords believe that by bringing these actions they will have a shot . . . [whereas] they did not think they would be successful before,” Nahins said.

Veteran Housing Court attorney Joseph Burden predicted the decision will be a warning to users of Airbnb and other online services for short-term rentals. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman estimates that over 75 percent of the 35,354 Airbnb listings in New York City are illegal.

“If rent-stabilized tenants know that there’s a serious risk of eviction then they will probably think twice before going ahead and doing this,” Burden said.

Adam Shafran, spokesman for Share Better, a coalition of elected officials and housing groups, called the ruling “a game changer.”

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Share Better member, represents the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood where Judge Stoller found Airbnb host Henry Ikezi was illegally renting out his discounted, $6,670 a month two-bedroom for $649 a night.

“The tenant here, if you want to call him that, was abusing his neighbors, abusing the family that might have legitimately lived in the apartment,” Gottfried said.

Two more politicians, Council member Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn and state Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan hailed the ruling in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud Judge Stoller for making it clear that using Airbnb to profiteer off of rent-stabilized apartments violates this city’s Rent Regulation Laws,” they said.

A spokesman for Airbnb said, “We are focused on the thousands of New Yorkers who share only the home in which they live and depend on home sharing to pay the bills and pursue their dreams.”