I didn’t think it was possible to ever evict anyone in NYC

airbnbJudge tosses Airbnb renter out of his rent- stabilized apartment.

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”.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “I didn’t think it was possible to ever evict anyone in NYC

  1. Mickster

    Lots of nervous people in NYC right now because of that ruling

  2. Publius

    The only situation more rare than this would be for NYC to let the rent control and rent stabilization laws to lapse and eliminate one of the “Big Lies” that permeates the NYC housing market….. Don’t hold your breath…

  3. Cos Cobber

    Biz as usual in the NY rent stabilized world. If you want to scare people, add a fine and a short jail time – then you will see attitudes change.

  4. They have price controls on housing and people wonder why there’s a chronic housing shortage. It’s amazing.

    • Anonymous

      Rent control repeal would do little to reverse the chronic shortage. New construction has not been subject to the rent laws for many decades.

  5. Anonymous

    there’s plenty of fraud in that program. wasn’t barbara streisand famously caught paying pennies for a huge loft in soho some years ago?

  6. Anonymous

    Google that Ikezi guy. He appears to have a habit of playing fast and loose with the law.

  7. Anonymous

    apartment flipping, car flipping….why not?

    http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FCO%2020091112103

  8. gwitch

    No different then a good number of section 8 and housing authority residents moving in their boyfriend/girlfriend, siblings, cousins, etc. and not reporting the extra household income. They’re fraud and cheats all over the income spectrum.

  9. Anonymous

    oh, i’ve had high class deadbeat renters. only difference is, they drive nicer cars and have a more extensive vocabulary.

    otherwise, they’re no different. still a bunch of cons.

  10. Anonymous

    For every scumbag tenant like this, there is a scumbag landlord hiring thugs to terrorize rent-controlled tenants in the effort to force them out. Whether one is for or against NYC’s rent control law, the tenants like Izeki are the exception that makes good publicity. The vast majority of tenants are within the law. NYC landlords brought rent control on themselves when after WWII they stupidly gouged returning Vets, galvanizing public opinion. At this point, rent control isn’t going away and revoking it would do little to generally lower rents. Most residential landlords have a combination of tenants under rent control and tenants paying retail. And the buildings are profitable, sometimes very much so.

  11. Anonymous

    Anyone believing that NY rent law repeal would meaningfully increase affordable housing simply does not understand the NYC market, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn. That said, the Housing Court rightfully exposed a cheater and hopefully others will be similarly punished.

  12. Anonymous

    A cab driver recently outlined to me how he simultaneously scams Section 8, Medicaid, SNAP and a program that pays you for being cold – or subsidizes your heating bill – while bragging that between his pensions and off-the-books work as a cab driver that he can clear almost $100k a year – substantially tax free. I wanted to call the cops, but why bother – he’s probably the norm.