Airbnb faces lawsuit as Upper West Side landlords demand $3M over Local Law 18

Two Upper West Side landlords are suing Airbnb citing violations of Local Law 18, the city’s newly enacted short-term rental law.

Michael Pensabene of Rosenberg and Estis and Milstein properties at 207 Columbus Avenue are one of the plaintiffs going after the rental platform citing the law.

Milstein Properties, owners of a property at 63 W 63rd Street quickly followed suit.

"The building was registered on a list where Airbnb use was to be prohibited," said Pensabene.

Local Law 18 took effect on September 5th allowing landlords to add their properties to a ‘do not register’ list.


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That list was supposed to stop tenants from booking their apartments on Airbnb, yet tenants are still able to post on the platform despite that intended ban.

"The Airbnb use was going on without the owner’s knowledge and consent and as a result, the city issued three violations against the property owner because of the Airbnb use," Pensabene told FOX 5.

Morgenstern, the property manager at 207 Columbus Avenue tells FOX 5 they've done their part.

"There's this list that you can register your building on which we did. There's your lease that makes it incredibly clear that you can’t do this so that sort of speaks to both sides of it," he added.

Through the lawsuit, the building owners are demanding the $30,000 incurred in fines while the plaintiff's attorney is seeking a significantly higher amount.

"The fine should be at least in the sum of $3 million," said Pensabene.

Law 18 requires hosts on the platform to go through the city’s office of special enforcement to verify the legitimacy of the rental.

Airbnb, however, claims it depends on the city’s law in place to verify properties in compliance.

FOX 5 reached out to the Office of Special Enforcement for comment and will include their comment when it becomes available.