New York City goes after illegal hotels again

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New York City goes after illegal hotels again

New York City’s Office of Special Enforcement is filing a suit against 13 people and entities that the city says turned housing units in 36 buildings into illegal rentals.
June 20, 2019

New York City’s Office of Special Enforcement is going after illegal home-sharing again, filing a suit in Queens County Supreme Court on Wednesday against 13 people and entities that the city says turned housing units in 36 buildings into illegal rentals. The OSE alleges that the defendants generated more than $5 million from nearly 60,000 guests and removed dozens of units from the housing market.

“Across the city, communities are threatened by an industry that allows illegal operators to mislead visitors and turn housing into profit,” Christian Klossner, executive director of the OSE, said in a statement. “OSE will continue to hold illegal operators accountable and work to keep neighborhoods and visitors safe.”

Though the suit targets alleged illegal hotel operators and not the platforms they use, companies like Airbnb, Booking.com and HomeAway are inevitably wrapped up in the issue. But Airbnb, currently enmeshed in a series of its own legal battles with the city, insists that the company wants the same thing as the city, which is to root out illegal hotel operators and find a regulatory middle ground.

"We have long said that we want to work with the City on a regulatory framework that will provide for effective enforcement against illegal hotel operators,” a spokesperson for Airbnb said in a statement. “After working with the City and providing data in response to valid legal process, we will continue to urge the City to come to the table, so that we can find a solution that addresses our shared enforcement priorities while still protecting the rights of regular New Yorkers.”

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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