TPU Secures $514K Settlement Against Landlord for Overcharging Rent

Rent-regulated units were advertised as short-term rentals.


Rent-regulated units were advertised as short-term rentals.


The DHCR’s Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) recently secured a $514,000 settlement against a Manhattan landlord for unlawfully defrauding renters. The TPU was established in 2012 to increase compliance with these laws and further protect rent-regulated tenants. The unit acts as a proactive law enforcement office within the DHCR, and its mission is to preserve housing by detecting and curtailing patterns and practices of landlord fraud and harassment through audits, investigations, and legal actions. The TPU also encourages compliance by informing tenants and owners of their rights and responsibilities under the rent laws.

TPU’s investigation found the landlord advertised rent-regulated units as short-term rentals, removing them from the housing supply. It launched its investigation into the landlord’s patterns and practices after receiving complaints in the summer of 2023 alleging units were advertised on the BlueGround rental platform, listing furnished apartments for stays of 30 days or longer that were presumed to be market-rate units by prospective renters. TPU found that listed rents and fees improperly exceeded the legal regulated rent registered with the DHCR. The investigation also uncovered violations of lease agreements and rent laws governing areas such as security deposits, subletting, and rent registrations.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the landlord will pay $514,000 for violating the rent laws by leasing rent-regulated units for terms of less than one or two years, and for overcharging occupants of nine rent-regulated units in five buildings, over the course of approximately 11 months.

Local Law 18:

Rent-Regulated Units Ineligible for Short-Term Rentals

On Jan. 9, 2022, New York City adopted Local Law 18, also known as the Short-Term Rental Registration Law. The law requires short-term rental hosts to register with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE), and prohibits booking service platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO,, and others from processing transactions for unregistered short-term rentals.

Short-term rental refers to renting out an apartment for any period shorter than 30 days. In New York City, one can’t rent out an entire apartment or home to visitors for less than 30 days. This applies to all permanent residential buildings. Short-term rentals are permitted only if the host is staying in the same unit or apartment as the guests, and the host has no more than two paying guests at a time. In other words, the person renting out the apartment on these sites must “maintain a common household” with the guests. Otherwise, the short-term rental is illegal.

In addition, tenants in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments, rent-controlled apartments, and rent-stabilized apartments are not eligible for short-term rental registration. OSE won’t approve applications for registration of rent-regulated units.