When it comes to cracking down on condo owners who illegally rent out their units through short-term home-sharing site Airbnb, the city means business.
Citing a Wall Street Journal article, The Real Deal reported Monday that city officials conducted a raid on the Atelier condo tower on Manhattan's West Side this past October, handing out violations to 20 unit owners—including some board members--accusing them of making illegal short-term rentals through Airbnb. The raid on the 475-unit tower at 635 West 42nd Street is considered the largest so far on these types of rentals.
According to the article, a group of owners who were fed up with the presence of Airbnb guests in the building presented the City with a list of 100 apartments they believe were violating the law.
The New York Post previously reported that some angry residents also accused the building's manager and board president, realtor Daniel Neiditch, of turning the Atelier into a short-term rental “gulag.” Neiditch oversees a real estate agency that rents and sells Atelier units; he also reportedly owns a bloc of 13 apartments in the building that are being marketed as an $85 million penthouse.
In a draft lawsuit scheduled to be filed in court, owners alleged that Neiditch is running the building like a “large-scale illegal Airbnb racket with other board members,” and is harassing residents who are seen as troublesome.
Neiditch did not respond to the Post's request for comment and reportedly did not receive a summons.
Atelier condo board member Roman Gambourg told the Post that the board denies any illegal short-rental operation, claiming instead that disgruntled residents are lodging complaints to make the board look bad. Gambourg also said that the board is fixing the Airbnb issue and promised that any illegal short-term activity at the building will be eradicated by April of next year.
Christian Klossner of the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement told the Wall Street Journal about the recent raid: “The extensive violations written show a clear need for building ownership and management to take action.”
Illegal short-term home rentals have been a contentious issue between Airbnb and the City. Last July, the City Council passed a bill that would curtail landlords and residents from illegally renting out apartments to tourists for a only few days.
David Chiu is an associate editor at The Cooperator.