Midtown Woman Sued By Landlord For Repeatedly Renting Apartment On Airbnb

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Airbnb Seeks Blessing of U.S. Landlords for Tenants to Profit.

The owner of Madaline Iacob’s five-floor Midtown walk-up is looking to recoup the $348,510 ($US250,000) in city fines for turning his property into an illegal hotel, plus $69,700 ($US50,000) in legal fees. “We did not participate or profit from it. A New York City landlord is suing a tenant for $300,000, claiming she repeatedly rented her one-bedroom, $2,095-a-month apartment to Airbnb travelers for $200 per night.LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Some longtime tenants say they were forced out of their apartments so the landlord could turn the property into a more lucrative Airbnb. “We were fantastic tenants,” says Nina Giovannitti, “We took care of the property; we had a garden.

Some of the country’s largest landlords, including Equity Residential, AvalonBay Communities Inc. and Camden Property Trust have recently had talks with Airbnb to figure out how to get a slice of the pie, reports Yahoo Finance. ‘A lot of our hosts are renters,’ Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty told the outlet. ‘Any solution we would be able to identify would be a win-win-win for everyone involved.’ The company’s growth has been hampered by the fact that many, if not most, renters are jeopardizing their leases by renting out their apartments as temporary hotels, as most leases have clauses about subletting without permission.The startup is reaching out to some of the largest U.S. apartment owners with the aim of working out a deal in which tenants can rent out their units through the website — and have their landlord’s blessing.Carrie Kirshman and Nina Giovannitti were close neighbors at their Spanish villa apartments in Fairfax, sharing keys, collecting each other’s mail and tending to a communal garden in the backyard.

Their rent-controlled building allowed them to enjoy below-market rents of less than $2,000 a month for their two-bedroom pads in the upscale neighborhood. The suit alleges that tenant Madalina Iacob, a yoga instructor and life coach, was charging $200 a night for a stay in her $2,095-a-month, one-bedroom apartment. Iacob’s lease says that the ‘tenant understands that they may NOT sublet the apartment’, but the landlord claims that Iacob was caught doing just that in May by City officials, according to court papers. That’s when the landlords kicked everyone out and opened up an Airbnb, an online travel service that caters to travelers who don’t like to stay in hotels willing to pay a high premium for apartments or homes. “Literally, you have a bull’s-eye on your back,” says Larry Gross, of the Coalition for Economic Survival, “Because Airbnb and their partners may be coming for your unit.” The apartment building, which was rent-controlled, received about $1,800 a month from the building’s four tenants.

In the U.S. alone, listed accommodations grew 80% to 322,500, according to Yahoo. ‘You just can’t turn your head or keep your head in the sand over what’s going on,’ David Santee, Equity Residential’s chief operating officer, said. Airbnb, with a $25.5 billion valuation, is surging in urban hot spots around the U.S., making landlords out of people who own no property, and drawing scrutiny from city governments and neighbors. That came to an end in late 2013 when the owners evicted them under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to get out of the rental business.

The landlord’s strictly liable.” Silberman says his client has been playing a “cat and mouse game” with tenant Madaline Iacob, who allegedly claims the Airbnb guests were actually friends and family. Within weeks, their apartments began appearing on Airbnb — a short-term rental site geared at tourists — for nightly rates that could total $15,000 a month, they said.

Some believe that renting out apartments like hotels keeps residences off the market for renters – and that apartment buildings and hotels have entirely different fire and safety codes. Negotiations would need to reassure owners that they’d have a say over what happens at their properties. “Right now, they don’t have any control over this situation,” he said. “They don’t have control over how often people are renting their units out, and they don’t have any control as to who’s coming in. When a second inspector caught Iacob in July and issued more $1394-a-day ($US1,000) penalties, she told the landlord the guests were “friends and relatives,” according to Silberman. The landlord was slammed with another $16,000 in base fines. ‘Under the law, the landlord is strictly liable even though it’s the tenant causing the violation — and even though we’re not participating in this with this lady,’ the building’s lawyer, Lawrence Silberman, told the New York Daily News.

They don’t know.” Partnerships between Airbnb and landlords initially would be limited to markets where the legality of short-term rentals isn’t in question, the person with knowledge of the discussions said. But the inspector’s report identifies the people staying in Iacob’s first-floor unit as a family of five from Colorado who had rented the pad from “Ramona” on Airbnb. But Airbnb proponents point out that if landlords are going to keep increasing rents – especially in expensive cities like San Francisco and New York – then tenants will need a new way to create income or landlords will find themselves with no tenants who can afford to live there.

A city administrative-law judge in November found Iacob “was indeed involved in a short-term-rental scheme and as a result the court imposed a substantial penalty based on chronic bad acts,” the suit says. A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeks damages and an injunction to return apartment units to tenants under previous rates. “By terminating long-term tenancies and dedicating rental units to short-term stays, landlords evade the city’s rent-control regulations and unfairly cash in on higher nightly rates,” the civil complaint says. It is coming up with ordinances to keep it from happening to other tenants. “I blame them for kicking people out that were great tenants,” Giovannitti said, “It’s not about about what he’s doing or making more money.” Attorneys Randy Renick and Nancy Hanna are representing the plaintiffs. “We strongly oppose real estate speculators who illegally evict tenants and abuse platforms like ours in search of a quick buck,” an Airbnb spokeswoman said in a statement. “We continue to work with policymakers to strengthen rules that protect tenants and communities.” Tenants in rent-controlled buildings have strong protections against eviction to ensure landlords can’t force them out to charge higher market rents. In the Fairfax case, the owners would be in violation of the rent control ordinance if they rented them via Airbnb for 30 days or more to the same tenant, a city housing department official said.

A complaint was filed last December that the building was being operated as a hotel and short-term rental, but an inspector was unable to verify the information, the official said. The City Council’s Housing Committee has discussed ways to strengthen enforcement of Ellis Act provisions and preserve affordable housing, including an annual cap on demolitions of rent-controlled buildings and withholding demolition permits until other permits for new construction have been issued.

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