Sorry, what? Landlords who report Airbnb violations are still getting slapped with fines

City says reporting illegal activity of others does not automatically shield landlords

Jul.July 11, 2017 10:25 AM

From left: City Hall, Airbnb Founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky (Credit: Getty Images)

Landlords who alert the city that their tenants are running illegal Airbnb operations are still liable to receive hefty fines.

There have been several cases of landlords telling the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement about illegal home sharing in their buildings, and then getting slapped with violations themselves, Crain’s reported.

“If you want us to cooperate with you, you have to stop fining us,” Jeffrey Goldman, a partner at Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman who specializes in representing landlords, told the publication.

In 2015, one of Goldman’s clients told the city about a tenant at 120 West 23rd Street who was advertising on short-term rental sites. The city issued a vacate order to the tenant but also issued building code violations to Aimco NYC, the property manager. Goldman appealed, and the violations were wiped. However, the Department of Buildings then successfully argued that the building owner is responsible for any illegal conditions on the property. The $3,400 in violations were then reinstated.

“We urge all New Yorkers to report violations of the law, including those that create dangerous living conditions,” a spokesman for DOB told Crain’s. “But reporting violations by others does not mean landlords are shielded from their own legal duty of providing safe homes to paying tenants.”

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a law making it illegal to list units for rent for fewer than 30 days if the owner isn’t present.Between March and May this year, inspectors fined hosts for just 139 listings that violated the housing law, leaving nearly 24,000 potentially ilegal listings untouched.  [Crain’s]Miriam Hall

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