Testimony of State Senator Liz Krueger Before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings Regarding Intro 404 to Increase the Fines Levels for Illegal Hotel Violations

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

My name is Liz Krueger and I represent the 26th Senate District, which includes the  East Side and Midtown areas of Manhattan.   I want to thank Chairperson Erik Martin Dilan and the members of the City Council Housing and Buildings Committee for providing me with the opportunity to testify today in support of Intro 404, which I believe is a critically important piece of legislation.

The proliferation of illegal hotel operations has removed thousands of affordable apartments from an already tight housing market, disrupted the lives countless permanent residents who live in the buildings where the illegal hotels are operating, decreased the revenue the City receives from hotel taxes, and ruined many tourists’ visits in New York.  The internet has made it easier than ever to advertise illegal hotels, which are residential units that are designated under the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law and City zoning rules as permanent residences but are improperly used as transient hotel rooms.  Even a brief search of the internet reveals hundreds of advertisements for illegal hotels.  Housing advocates estimate that there are many thousands of these units being operated in more than 300 buildings across New York City, primarily in Manhattan and North Brooklyn but increasingly in other areas as well.  Building owners and third party managers convert residential units, the majority of which are located in buildings with rent-regulated and Single Room Occupancy tenants, into illegal hotel units in order to make more money on the apartments than the law allows.

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