More illegal hotels uncovered

June 07, 2010 03:30PM

341 West 51st Street (photo: PropertyShark)

The Jazz on Times Square Hostel at 341 West
51st Street is one of several buildings in the city that is operating
illegally, the Daily News reported. The building isn’t licensed to be a hotel; the
certificate of occupancy is valid only for single-room occupancy
apartments, deeming it “illegal use in a residential district,”
according to an inspector’s note on the Department of Buildings website. The
building paid $3,200 in fines for that offense in January, but kept
operating, while also neglecting to pay property taxes. Similar
situations exist in other buildings around the city, where
unscrupulous landlords kick out longtime tenants, disregarding
building codes and marketing the empty rooms as hotels. The city has
temporarily shut down dozens of these illegal hotels but has been
stymied by a 2009 court ruling that the law banning them is too vague. As The Real Deal reported earlier this year, a state legislative package targeting illegal hotels could mean big-time trouble for nefarious hostel operators across the city.