The Illegal Hotel Law, or Assembly Bill S06873B, is legislation passed to curb illegal hotels. The law took effect in May of 2011. The law is enforced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. This law substantially increases fines for landlords or property owners who rent rooms/apartments for less than 30 days. Proponents of the law declare it is necessary as the City is losing permanent affordable housing units to short-term vacation rentals. Further, Gale Brewer pointed out that tenants in SRO buildings complained of tourists and related nuisances, such as noise, drinking, parties, and feeling unsafe with strangers coming in and out of the building. As we are all aware, many SROs who rented rooms to tourists have now turned to lucrative City contracts to house homeless. It comes as no surprise that nuisances and complaints have increased for residents of these same SROs, who now complain of crime and safety concerns, among other things. If the law was meant to improve the quality of life of tenants in SROs, it did not work. If the law was meant to increase the amount of available permanent affordable housing, it did not work. Tenants of effected SROs still face quality of life and safety concerns, and apartments meant for permanent affordable housing are now filled with homeless…so still no increase in permanent affordable housing units. But wait, wasn’t that the point of the law?
So who DOES this law help? Landlords- who now receive more than $3k pp for housing the homeless. Was this the intention of our politicians? Or is this a case of unintended conseqeunces? Whatever the case, the law is a disaster and needs to be addressed.
In case you are wondering, our Assemblywoman, Linda Rosenthal, voted IN SUPPORT of this law. The law passed 38-5. Other local officials, including Gale Brewer and Scott Stringer, were also vocal proponents of the law.
Articles related to the Illegal Hotel Law:
Illegal Hotel Penalites Spike in Last Year (The Real Deal, 4/27/12, by Leigh Kamping-Carder)
City Council Hits Hotels with Fines (The Wall Street Journal, 9/12/2012, by Michael Howard Saul)
3 Upper West Side Owners to Shut Illegal Hotels (New York Times, November 31, 2011, Patrick Wall)
More to come!