New York City's Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement raided a 475-unit condo building last month, as part of a broader movement to crack down on short-term rentals like Airbnb.
What are the details?
On Oct. 12, a team of 20 law enforcement officers descended on the Atelier, a 46-story Midtown building full of luxury condos. The authorities issued 27 notices of violations to 20 apartment owners who are accused of illegally renting out their properties in accordance with city regulations.
The operation was the largest short-term rental raid directed by the mayor's office to date, according to spokesman Christian Klossner, who told the Wall Street Journal, "The extensive violations written show a clear need for building ownership and management to take action."
According to the New York Post, more than 100 calls to the city's 311 hotline have been made by residents of the building, complaining that fellow owners were allowing tourists and other guests to utilize short-term stays in violation of the law.
The Post reported that one group of owners is filing a lawsuit this week, accusing Atelier manager and board president, Daniel Neiditch, and other defendants of running a "complex illegal transient rental enterprise" at the building.
Mr. Neiditch told the Journal that the board had fined several owners for intimidating people in the building.
Resident Eugenia Elliott, 70, confirmed to the Post that she was slapped with a $2,500 fee from the board for "incitement of violence," after organizing an 88-person WhatsApp group for owners to share information about possible Airbnb violators and chatting with folks in the lobby during breakfast.
Atelier condo board member Roman Gambourg defended the board's actions to the Post, saying that "a handful of disgruntled unit owners have made it their hobby to complain to 311 in a false attempt to discredit the board."
"There have been owners that have also been physically assaulted only for the fact [that] they had a suitcase when they walked into the building," he added.
The draft lawsuit against Neidtich and others accused the board president of "bullying" tactics toward residents, creating an atmosphere "akin to a 1920s Gulag instead of a white-glove luxury building."
Not all short-term rental arrangements are illegal in New York City. Residents are allowed to rent out a second bedroom, as long as they, too, are occupying the unit.