A Manhattan Housing Court judge has ruled that rent-stabilized tenants can’t double-dip — or get a financial break and turn around and make money peddling their pads to tourists on websites such as Airbnb.
The ruling is the first to outright evict a tenant under rent controls without giving him a second chance, said Frank Ricci of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents more than 25,000 landlords.
And the decision lays down the law for most of the 35,354 Airbnb listings in the city, whose hosts make about $304 million in revenue, said state Sen. Liz Krueger, an opponent of the site.
[Justice] Stoller was incensed over a subletting scheme by Hell’s Kitchen tenant Henry Ikezi and ordered him evicted from his discounted two-bedroom penthouse by the end of the month.
“Using a residential apartment as a hotel room and profiteering off of it is ground for eviction . . . as it undermines a purpose of the Rent Stabilization Code,’’ Stoller wrote in his 12-page ruling issued Feb. 17.
Ikezi paid only about two-thirds of the 450 W. 42nd St. apartment’s $9,000-plus market price, or $6,670 a month, because it was rent stabilized.
He then listed it online for $649 a night.
Ikezi insisted he lived there with his wife and child while tourists also temporarily stayed in the pad, as required by law.
But his landlord scoffed at the claim, and sources said the family actually lives in a million-dollar-plus home in Jamaica, Queens, while Ikezi used the 46th-floor apartment as a revolving door for paying tourists.
Ikezi, 35, who the ruling says flips houses for a living, claimed to the judge that he couldn’t recall whether he had ever charged anyone to stay in the apartment.
[I like this bit:] Confronted with his Airbnb ad touting the unit’s “skyline views” in “the hippest, hottest, most happening neighborhood in Manhattan,” Ikezi claimed it might be an upstairs neighbor’s pad with similar furnishings.
Ikezi’s lawyer, Nick Moccia, declined to comment.
One might ask why someone who can afford a million-dollar home in Queens deserves a subsidized penthouse in Manhattan, but that’s a discussion that’s been going on since WW II, and the answer has always been the same: “because”.