The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) has filed a lawsuit against Hank Freid, CEO and Founder of the hospitality company Impulsive Group alleging he converted nearly 250 affordable residential housing units, in five Upper West Side buildings, into illegal hotel units.
Freid used online booking sites to advertise and rent the units to short-term guests in violation of a slew of city and state regulations.
“This landlord illegally took hundreds of affordable units off the market. Today, we filed a suit to get him to stop his unlawful activities.” said Christian Klossner, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. “This action should stand as a warning: We will use every tool at our disposal to preserve and protect our housing stock, to protect our homes and neighborhoods, and keep residents and visitors safe.”
The Office of Special Enforcement, tasked with enforcing against illegal hotels and other short-term transient use, has issued over 200 building and fire code violations and 90 summonses for illegal advertising, with potential penalties up to $1,019,340 at Freid’s properties since December 2011.
The lawsuit filed against Hank Freid, known as a nuisance abatement case, is an enforcement tool OSE is increasingly employing against chronic offenders when they refuse to cease the illegal use. A hearing seeking a preliminary injunction against Mr. Freid’s illegal use of the buildings will occur September 12.
“New York City is in the middle of a long-term affordable housing crisis. This landlord is just one egregious example of a problem that has spread throughout the city and continues to make that crisis worse – housing meant for regular New Yorkers being converted into illegal hotels,” said Senator Liz Krueger.
“I thank OSE for their work in bringing these 250 affordable units back onto the market, and for their continuing efforts to crack down on illegal hotels and protect public safety.”
Last November, New York passed a new law that imposed steep penalties on hosts who post listings that violate the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law which prohibits “sharing” your apartment. New Yorkers are lawfully permitted rent out an extra bedroom if they choose, but not an entire apartment.