Rent-stabilized Tribeca artist ordered to pay highest Airbnb rental fine ever

Eileen Hickey has been ordered to pay $185,000

460 Greenwich Street (Credit: PropertyShark)
460 Greenwich Street (Credit: PropertyShark)

A judge has ordered artist Eileen Hickey to leave her apartment in Tribeca and pay a fine of $185,000 for illegally listing it on Airbnb.

The 72-year-old Hickey, who paid $1,500 a month for her rent-stabilized two-bedroom apartment at 460 Greenwich Street, was sued by her landlord Robert Moskowitz in 2014, who claimed she was earning about $4,500 a month from Airbnb guests, according to the New York Post. He caught her when a Spanish tenant hung a banner from her fire escape to greet friends.

The $185,000 fine includes legal fees for her landlord and a penalty for violating New York’s Rent Stabilization Code, and it is the highest known penalty in the country for illegally renting one property on Airbnb.

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Hickey said she only used Airbnb briefly to help pay the medical bills for her former husband and got approval from an attorney before doing so. She claims to have earned $14,000 in total from the service and is now trying to reimburse her guests to keep her apartment.

She repeatedly failed to turn in documents ordered by the court, such as credit card and bank statements, and her landlord said this was because she was in the Hamptons.

Hickey has until June 9 to leave her apartment, where she has lived for 43 years. Although she owns a condo in the East Village, she says it is a workspace.

“To have no place to go at age 72 is quite horrible,” Hickey told the Post. [NYP] – Eddie Small