Councilwoman Proposes Harsher Fines Against Illegal Hotels
The City Council is hoping to apply more pressure on building owners who convert residential apartments into illegal hotel rooms, proposing new fines for repeat violations that could soar as high as $25,000.
Upper West Side City Councilwoman Gale Brewer has introduced legislation that would reclassify illegal hotels as “immediately hazardous” conditions if the city finds more than one violation in a building or a subsequent violation in the same place. The change would boost fines from the current rate of roughly $800 to anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 for repeat offenses. It also would slap operators with an added $1,000 fine for each day an illegal hotel continues to operate.
Last summer, new state legislation came into effect that made it illegal to rent out apartments in residential buildings for less than 30 days. But many have complained that the legislation lacks teeth and that fines are so low that they're factored in as part of the cost of doing business for operators charging upwards of $100 a night.