“My district has been overrun by illegal hotels, which has resulted in a loss of crucial rent-regulated housing for working New Yorkers. Although illegal hotel operators and their lobbyists continue to spread disinformation, including the belief that this legislation would affect subleases, this problem has inflicted tangible hardship on my constituents. In 2007, I posed as a tourist and booked two nights in the Imperial Court on 79th Street, one of the many illegal hotels on the Upper West Side.
Inside, I saw firsthand what the long-term tenants had to deal with: tourists checking in at all times, making noise and traveling freely through all parts of the building that should have been for tenants' use only. I spoke with foreign visitors that had been duped into staying in what they thought was an actual hotel room, and witnessed both unsanitary conditions and dangerous fire code violations that persist to this day. These locations continue to accrue all manner of health, safety and environmental infractions from City agencies that lack the authority to properly regulate these operations. Some of them have become magnets for bedbug infestations.
Many of the visitors that stay in these locations walk away bitter about the experience they received in New York City and not especially eager to return.
We all want as many tourists as possible to visit our city, but illegal hotels encourage landlords to harass and evict longtime tenants and convert their apartments into more profitable operations. Legitimate residents do not deserve to have their homes treated with such disrespect. This important legislation will put a stop to such reprehensible practices.”
Assemblymember Rosenthal (D/WF) represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan and parts of Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.