Mayor Adams sues operators of ‘illegal’ hotel posing as Airbnb in Midtown

City Hall is suing to try to shut down an allegedly illegal hotel that used Airbnb to advertise its rooms in a Manhattan apartment building, after repeated attempts to do so out of court, officials said Tuesday. the city.

In a 41-page lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration claims real estate broker Arron Latimer and the Apex Management team employed multiple LLCs and sites like Airbnb to design a program of short-term rental apartments in a four-story building in Manhattan.

The defendants allegedly “refused to stop their illegal short-term rental operation despite multiple enforcement efforts” that were conducted by city agencies at 44 E. 51st St.. They had “attempted to reduce this public nuisance through to pre-litigation administrative enforcement efforts, to no avail,” the suit reads.

Renting residential space for less than a month without the landlord present is illegal in New York.

City Hall alleges that in addition to breaking the law against ‘short-term occupancy of permanent residential accommodation only’, Latimer and Apex executive Esther Yip flouted city fire safety regulations , such as insufficient sprinklers and outlets.

Mayor Eric Adams announces a new lawsuit to shut down an illegal short-term rental operation.
Ed Reed / Mayor’s Office of Photography

“Today, the city is taking action to end illegal short-term rentals and protect our visitors, our communities and our hospitality industry,” Adams told reporters at a press conference outside the building. . “These illegal short-term rentals are having a major impact on our hospitality industry and those who work in it.

“The defendants continued to run the operation, really thumbing their noses at the law, and we say that thumbing their noses at the law is over,” the mayor added. “There are multiple violations, including unsafe conditions. It is something that puts individuals at risk to public and public health and safety.

“Today we are sending a message: this type of anarchy will not be tolerated in our city.”

Christian Klossner — chief of the mayor’s office of special enforcement — explained that state and city laws only allow homes of any size to be rented for up to two non-permanent residents and only when the host lives with the residents. guests.

“They’re taking homes away from New Yorkers, they’re endangering the tourists who book and stay there, and they’re disrupting the quality of life for our neighbors,” he said of the illegal hotels.

At the Turtle Bay building, the defendants used about 30 different host accounts, some of which were listed under false names or those of other people, and used false addresses in an attempt to hide the illegal activity, said Klosnner Tuesday afternoon.

“Latimer used 10 different LLCs, each with their own bank account, and settled with Latimer as a signer to receive payments for over 2,200 illegal transactions,” he told reporters. “And he tricked over 6,500 people visiting our great city into providing them with unsafe and illegal accommodations.”

Christian Klossner said state and city laws only allow homes of all sizes to be rented for up to two non-permanent residents.
Christian Klossner said state and city laws only allow homes of all sizes to be rented for up to two non-permanent residents.
Ed Reed / Mayor’s Office of Photography

In a statement, an Airbnb representative said the company “banned” the defendants from the platform “months ago.”

Nathan Rothman, regional public policy manager, praised Adams “for taking swift action against illegal hoteliers who flout the rules.”

“Airbnb is currently sharing information with the city and looks forward to working with the city and state to establish an effective and transparent regulatory framework to differentiate between responsible hosts who should be protected by law and operators of properties like this. that don’t belong on our platform,” Rothman added.

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