The Real Deal New York

Nolita landlord in Airbnb case loses bid to evict tenant

By Julie Strickland | August 20, 2013 05:30PM

Eviction does not appear to be in the cards for Amy Parness, the Nolita tenant accused of raking in $500,000 by illegally subletting her apartment to short-term guests.

Ken Podziba, the landlord who filed suit against Parness in December 2011 in New York Civil Court for making unauthorized alterations to the rental property at 250 Elizabeth Street, said Parness has complied with a court order to pay four months’ rent in damages.

Podziba, who discovered that Parness was allegedly subletting the apartment through Airbnb and other short-term rental sites after suing her over the alterations, even went so far as to hire a private investigator to catch her in the act.

The measures, however, are unlikely to result in Parness being evicted for the offense.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t make an issue of the illegal sublet matter because the case we commenced was for illegal alterations,” Podziba said via email. “We’re not allowed to have two actions in housing court at the same time.”

Parness did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Rocketman1160

    This case really is the poster child for abuse — the tenant Amy Parness who rakes in 500K
    cash which is akin to stealing; the court system which protects tenants like this one; and most importantly all the residents of the building who have to live in fear that one of the strangers (whom Airbnb doesn’t screen out) living down the hall from them could harm them and their children.

  • Christine

    I think the only way this tenant from hell will leave is if one of her hotel subletters burns down the building or kills a neighbor. Disgraceful!

    • comiccom

      kens planning to raise the rent and use the money to buy another porche and hire more private investigators instead of fixing up the dilapidated building and making it safe for children and families. his buildings are all fire safety hazards. he should be investigated and fined for that

  • Michael

    Someone should track down renters because they all have a claim for overcharge, which will entitle them to treble damages. That will really hurt this freeloader.

  • Barbara

    outrageous! This is the case landlords will use to end Rent Stabilization for those who really need it

    • Jenna

      I’ve actually been following this case and am scared to death that the greedy landlords will use this case to try to end rent regulation. Perhaps I’m being paranoid but with the high rent out there, many including some of my co-workers are looking to scapegoat people in rent regulated apts. One really bad apple should not be allowed to ruin a system that enables hard working middle class to afford living in NYC.

      • that free market guy

        What do you think exactly would happen tomorrow if today NYC said “no more rent control”? There would be a mass exit of tenants and the market would get so flooded that the rental prices would crash right back to where they should be.

        Correct me if I’m wrong here but rent controls limit the amount of properties that go into the housing stock. In SF we have tenants in apartments for 25 years solely because the price cant change. The biggest reason you can actually sell your 1 bedroom for $2500 is that well there are 500 people looking and 100 bedrooms available (and the 500 are really well paid). Now increase that 100 to 500 and see what happens.

    • 72rentonroad

      you’re way off. this is a minor story but one of a greedy rich bastard with a taste for women and the spotlight, looking to make a buck off the backs of others wherever he can. ken p. is an irresponsible landlord who’s been seen stalking and threatening various tenants. his greed and neglect is way worse than someone getting $200 for letting a beloved family member enjoy new york

  • JB

    what some of you failed to notice is that Podziba only lost the case because of a technicality–he can’t have two cases in the court at the same time. Read: “Unfortunately we couldn’t make an issue of the illegal sublet matter because the case we commenced was for illegal alterations,” Podziba said via email. “We’re not allowed to have two actions in housing court at the same time.”

    • ethelCooper

      goes to show that ken podziba is suing other tenants and using intimidation tactics to get them out. Imagine: elderly grandmother on life support being stalked by a private investigator, videos watching her every move, threatening letters daily. this guy should go to JAIL

  • JustAnotherNewYorker

    So why can’t he start a new action now (since the old one did not involve these accusations)?

    Oh, and report her to the IRS. I doubt she’s been declaring that extra $500,000 of income each year…

    • kendraj

      the math doesn’t add up. does ken have access to her checking account? it’s impossible to make that much and as you said she’d have to pay taxes. there’s no incentive to put oneself at such risk. if you read between the lines it’s really ken podziba who is in the wrong. just another landlord looking to intimidate tenants so he can raise the rents and fatten his wallet. sickening

  • LL

    I’d like to know if they will refile to evict based on the illegal subletting. There’s no question the tenant is stealing here. Misrepresenting the situation does the landlord no good, though. If she rented out her walk up tenement unit out every single day, she would have to charge $1,370 per night to amass $500K in a year. I’ll take the Four Seasons.

    • Justin

      The NY Post broke the story a few weeks ago. The tenant has been doing this since 2009 and even rented out two other units in the building. The renters of these units moved out and rather than give their low rent apts allowed Amy Parness who the Post called the tenant from hell to rent out their apts through Airbnb. The tenants must have gotten a piece of the action but they estimated that Parness raked in 500K. She had the easiest job in NYC. This gives a whole new meaning to rent controlled tenants having won the lottery.

      • forthepeople

        you got it backwards. ken podziba is pushing poor tenants out of hos 4 buildings that he inherited from daddy and is making $15m a year on rental income alone from his run down, rat infested rentals.

    • Robert

      an illegal sublet proceeding will not do any good because that is a curable offense, meaning if there is no current tenant then there are no grounds to evict. So she get’s away with it. The landlord probably has a good nonprimary residence case, but he will have to wait until her lease is up for renewal. Can’t wait to see her defense that she does primarily reside there…and she will complain that the landlord should not take away her valuable and affordable housing.

  • David

    For those in the real estate industry, word on the street is that the tenant’s uncle, a former judge, is going around telling people that Amy Parness actually dumped her former attorney, not the other way around. No one believes him because her former attorney is well-respected, bright and honorable while her new attorney is like a used car salesman. And he’s also saying that he had no knowledge of his niece’s scam and doesn’t feel he needs to defend her actions.

    • hfalfull

      you are a monkey’s uncle.

  • Vincente

    The comments on this story are ridiculous. Can someone evidence a story where an AirBnB resident inflicted a crime on a tenant of a building? Do your current landlords do extensive background searches on all the tenants you currently live with? AirBnB at least does some level of filtering based off a reviews system. Do you have any reviews on your neighbors?

    Taking over a rent controlled apartment and renting it is wrong, but this is more of the exception to the rule than the norm. At the end of the day, would you rather the person in your building make a few extra dollars by renting when they are on vacation, or the rich landlords and hotels make enough money to buy a third yacht?

    • margo

      This is not the only one tenant – check airbnb – you will see how many tenants do this. And the prices for the stay in their not always clean, renovated and even comfortable apartments are not cheap! they are as greedy as Hotels – you couldn`t find the price less than 100 dollars for room per night – and this is with shared bathroom. Hotels pay taxes to the city and state. Many things what you use in NY – have been made for money from taxes. These people don`t pay taxes. do you think this is fair?

      • Michelle

        Yes, Margo, she’s of course not the only tenant to use airbnb. But I think the reason why this case has generated so much media and outrage is because of the depth of this person’s deception. I’m sure the landlord will contact the IRS and other government authorities and nail her on not paying taxes. I think people got it right — Amy Parness is the tenant from hell! Let’s hope this story fades away fast because I like the status quo of having a relatively inexpensive apartment in a city I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

        • jacko

          the media has been generated because Ken podziba is using his press contacts and using liable to win his case against the poor tenant. he’s been known to do that so tenants tire and give up. kens stands to make tons o’ $$$ if she leaves

          • jacko

            he’s using LIBEL (auto correct)

  • Fred

    I have recently been fined by my management company (penmark) for having listed my apartment on airbnb. According to mgt company they have the right to proactively fine property owners for listing an apartment rental. The company made no such inquiry on the availability of the space or reservation to substantiate the rental.

    To housing lawyers, is this compliance program overreaching? I need help in fight this.

  • harveycMD

    what landlord would sue and hire a PI unless they are in it for the money??

  • onepark

    all these articles are suspiciously pro-landlord and offer only one side of the story. There’s no way the tenant could have made that much money, simple math.

  • AlicaMoore

    landlord from hell

  • 111 Centre Street

    It seemed like the Landlord had a very solid case when this story first came to light. Unfortunately, the Landlord did not obtain the proper legal advice. You have a better chance of evicting this tenant on a non-primary basis, as opposed to illegal subletting or illegal alterations.

    With that said, the Tenant will now correct the conditions, and the case will be moot.

    Who was advising you on this matter?