Sharing, not caring: Landlord discovers Airbnb the hard way

Tenants hired crew to turn three-bedroom rental into 10-room illegal hotel

Dec.December 11, 2015 12:23 PM

A Queens landlord recently learned first-hand how Airbnb is altering the city’s housing landscape, after renting out the third floor of a three-story Elmhurst home he owns as a rental property.

After signing a lease with two tenants for $2,500 a month, Eddie Shiew got a call from another one of his tenants on the first floor – notifying him that it appeared there was construction work going on upstairs.

“I went in the next day and found they had turned a three-bedroom into a 10—bedroom apartment,” Shiew told PIX11.

The tenants, Burak Firik and Dogan Kimilli, were renovating the home without Shiew’s knowledge, with a construction crew using sheetrock to divide each bedroom on the third floor into three smaller bedrooms.

The landlord then discovered that the tenants were listing the rooms on Airbnb – with tourists paying $35 a night for one of the small rooms on the renovated third floor.

Shiew put an end to all that, of course – bringing in workmen to tear down the renovations before kicking out Firik and Kimilli and changing the locks on the doors.

But it didn’t end there, with the tenants taking the landlord to court – and winning a judgment saying Shiew illegally locked them out. He was ordered to let the two men back onto the property.

While they have yet to do more renovations, Firik and Kimilli continue to create space to rent on Airbnb using curtains as room dividers, PIX11 reports. Shiew, meanwhile, has hired an attorney in an attempt to evict them for violating the terms of their lease. [PIX11]Rey Mashayekhi

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