City officials conduct one of the largest Airbnb raids at Far West Side condo building
Enforcement agency issued 20 violations to apartment owners
The city’s Airbnb enforcement officials raided the Far West Side Atelier condominium last month, handing out nearly two dozen violations to owners who allegedly rented out apartments on the home-sharing site.
And the crackdown — one of the largest yet on short-term rentals — could be a sign of what’s to come as the city gets tough on sites like Airbnb.
Officials last month issued violations to 20 different condo owners — two of whom are board members — for allegedly making illegal short-term rentals, the Wall Street Journal and New York Post reported.
“The extensive violations written show a clear need for building ownership and management to take action,” Christian Klossner, executive director of the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, told the Journal.
Condo owners in the 500-unit Atelier tower — developed by the Moinian Group in 2007 — are becoming increasingly annoyed by the presence of Airbnb tourists in their building. A group of owners put together a list of about 100 apartments they think are breaking the law and sent it to the city.
Some residents filed a legal notice with the condo board, and say they’ve been fined by the building as a form of harassment for documenting the presence of short-term renters.
“It’s war,” explained Tanya Helfand, a lawyer who bought a studio on the 14th floor this year.
Some owners are calling for the resignation of condo board president Daniel Neiditch, who manages the building on top of running a real estate agency that rents and sells most of the units at the tower.
Neiditch also owns 13 units at the top of the building he’s marketing as an $85 million “penthouse.” The listing, one of the city’s priciest, has lingered on the market, and Neiditch has thrown in perks like a $1 million yacht and two tickets to outer space on a Virgin Galactic space flight.
Josh Meltzer, head of Northeast Policy for Airbnb, said cases like this one “are rare and not representative of our host community — the vast majority of whom are sharing the home in which they live — but they do reinforce the need for a comprehensive, statewide bill that would provide for strict recourse against bad actors and protect the rights of regular New Yorkers who are responsibly sharing their homes.”
“Airbnb supports legislation in Albany that would create a common sense, comprehensive path forward, and we invite the Office of Special Enforcement to do the same,” he added. [WSJ, NYP]– Rich Bockmann