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New York State Legislature cracks down on illegal hotels

NYHTC - July 8, 2010 Share/Save/Bookmark

The New York Times and Empire State News reported that on July 1, 2010, the New York State Legislature passed a bill clarifying the laws against using residential apartments as hotel rooms.

In recent years, some companies have started to rent apartments as hotel rooms. The size of these illegal hotel operations range from a few scattered apartments across the city to illegal hotel buildings. Although this practice has been illegal, the city has not had effective powers to punish the violators.

These hotels are dangerous and unfair because they avoid codes that require hotels to comply with standards of accessibility for handicapped guests. These illegal hotel companies often practice unscrupulous and sometimes illegal labor practices and threaten labor standards in the New York hotel industry.

Tenants in many of the buildings used by these "hotels" have protested the disruption and noise caused by having many temporary residents cycling through their buildings. These apartments are misleadingly marketed as hotel rooms.

According to the Empire State News, one of the bill's sponsor's, State Senator Liz Krueger, points out, "because illegal hotels do not comply with the local building, fire, and housing codes that are required for buildings zoned for transient occupants, they pose a serious threat to public safety."

The bill forbids residential apartments from being rented out for fewer than 30 days. It makes exceptions, however, for situations in which no money is exchanged, or where the actual tenants remain on the property and simply rent out rooms to boarders.

The Empire State News quotes Assembly member Richard Gottfried. "For years, my office has received countless complaints from tenants living in residential buildings that are being used as hotels." Once signed and enacted by Governor David Patterson, the new law will allow city and state authorities to act on those complaints.

Related Issues: illegal hotels, Liz Krueger, Richard Gottfried