UPPER WEST SIDE — A West 79th Street hotel was hit with a slew of violations and a $65,000 fine for continuing to offer short-term stays despite a March court ruling that forbade it, the mayor announced Monday.
During a May 10 inspection, city officials found that the Imperial Court Hotel, at 307 W. 79th St., near Riverside Drive, had violated the law by renting 99 of its 227 units to tourists.
Before the inspection, the Office of Special Enforcement had received 33 complaints via 311 about Imperial, suggesting that illegal rentals had not stopped.
Under New York State Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL), it's illegal to rent rooms to tenants for less than 30 days.
Imperial Court Hotel owner Ron Edelstein told DNAinfo New York that it’s the city’s decision to put tourists on the street. He said that a Manhattan Supreme Court judge sided with Imperial and overturned the appeal in March.
Now, Edelstein and his lawyer are asking the court to take the case again. “We will prevail,” Edelstein said.
Edelstein didn’t comment further on his pending lawsuit.
The city has tried to put a halt on illegal “Single Room Occupancy,” or SROs, which are categorized as rooms rented and paid for weekly or monthly.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has advocated for affordable housing during his tenure with an initiative to crack down illegal rentals in the city.
“Imperial Court is one of the most egregious illegal hotel operators in New York City,” he said in a statement.
“It creates quality of life issues for the tenants,” said Marti Weithman, supervising attorney at MFY Legal Services, a firm who has campaigned against illegal renting in the past.
Weithman said buildings like Imperial put tenants' lives at risk with safety issues.
“Owners will put multiple people in single rooms which overloads the bathrooms,” she said.
“Folks coming to the city as tourists want to party in the middle of the night and tenants need to sleep to get up in the morning,” she said. “It’s very disrupting noise wise, and you don’t know who neighbors are.”