The landlord of a building in Queens, New York, says that he rented out a three-bedroom apartment–the third floor of the building–to two people for $2,500 per month.
However, landlord Eddie Shiew soon got a call from a tenant on the first floor who said they heard construction on the third floor.
— Duchess (@madpr) December 10, 2015
Shiew told PIX-11 television that he went to the building and found that the third floor was renovated without him knowing.
“I went in the next day and found they had turned a three-bedroom into a 10-bedroom apartment,” he said, describing the rooms as “narrow.”
A construction crew used sheetrock to divide each bedroom into three small ones, he said.
He found that the tenants, Burak Firik and Dogan Kimilli, were renting out the rooms on Airbnb.com, a website for people looking for a cheap place to stay for a short period of time.
Two tourists told PIX-11 that they stayed in one of the rooms in Kimilli’s apartment for $35 a night.
Shiew brought in a crew and tore down the renovations and changed the locks on doors, and he demanded that Firik and Kimilli leave.
But the two took Shiew to court. “They went to court and got a court order against me, ” Shiew added. “They said I illegally locked them out.”
The judge said that Shiew needs to let the two back into the apartment and now, they’re using curtains as room dividers to rent the space out on Airbnb despite Shiew’s pleas.
Firik texted Shiew, “We know the laws very well, you’ll not be able to evict us ever.”
But Shiew’s attorney told PIX-11 that he expects the two to be thrown out in a few months.
According to Gothamist, Firik and Kimilli might have posted six or more listings in Queens after “Airbnb released anonymized data on their hosts last week.”
Meanwhile, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal said that Airbnb’s recent release is “a useless disclosure that will do nothing to curb illegal hotels and tenant harassment.”