City shutters 15 illegal hotels in crackdown

May 16, 2011 10:21AM

The city has shuttered 15 illegal hotels since a new state law designed to root out short-term rentals took effect this month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday. According to the Post and the Associated Press, the hotels were the targets of a sting operation in Manhattan and Brooklyn that commenced May 1, when it became illegal to rent out apartments for less than 30 days in New York. All 15 hotels were forced to stop accepting guests, eight were issued vacate orders, and several were hit with fines of up to $2,500 for each building code violation found (among them: overcrowding, blocked exits and inadequate smoke alarms). In one case, the Lafayette International Hostel, at 484 Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was said to be hosting 45 guests in what is supposed to be a three-family home, which also had no sprinklers or fire alarms. The hostel’s operator, Heidi Brecheul, denied that 45 people were ever staying there at once. [Post] and [AP]