Illegal hotel on Upper West Side of Manhattan first to be fined under new law

New York City recently issued a steep fine to a Manhattan landlord accused of operating an illegal hotel. Initially receiving $12,000 in fines in February 2017, Hank Fried was ordered to remove all room listings. Fried has retained a lawyer and is fighting the order. He has not pulled the listings. Fried has now been charged with a second set of fines for 12 violations at $5000 each, $60,000. If the ads are not removed by May, he risks being slapped with another set of fines at $90,000. New York is not messing around! New York Daily News outlines the charges.

 

Hank Fried was whacked with a dozen fines totaling $60,000 for advertising rooms in the Marrakech Hotel on Broadway near 103rd St.(GOOGLE MAPS STREET VIEW)

 

The city has slapped an Upper West Side landlord with the first $5,000 fines under a new law passed to crack down on illegal hotels.

Hank Fried was whacked with a dozen fines totaling $60,000 for advertising rooms in the Marrakech Hotel on Broadway near 103rd St., which the city says is operating illegally in what is supposed to be a single-room-occupancy and apartment building.

A state law signed last fall prohibited the advertising of illegal units — ones that violate a prior law barring the renting of entire apartments for less than 30 days.

The law was pushed as a way to go after illegal listings on the home sharing site Airbnb. But Fried is not a host on that site, and instead advertised his units on Hotwire.com, Booking.com and other websites, city officials say.

“We will ratchet up penalties against bad actors who flout the law and put New Yorkers and visitors in danger,” said Christian Klossner, executive director of the Office of Special Enforcement.

“Turning homes into illegal hotels harms New York neighborhoods, and our city as a whole. “Fried was previously hit in February with a dozen violations for $1,000 each, and incurred the higher fines because he didn’t take down the ads.

If he doesn’t take them down before a hearing in May, he could be hit with another set of fines — this time for $7,500 each, the maximum under the new law.

Ronald Rosenberg, an attorney for the building owner, said its certificate of occupancy allows it to operate as a hotel. He also said the state law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech which he intends to challenge.

“It’s not an illegal hotel,” he said. “The law is unenforceable.”

 

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