PHOTO: Manhattan's Upper West Side. (photo via Flickr/Peter Burka)
New York City has issued a hefty fine to a Manhattan landlord accused of operating an illegal hotel.
According to the New York Daily News, Hank Freid is facing fines totaling $60,000 for advertising rooms in the Marrakech Hotel, which is supposed to be a single-room-occupancy and apartment building.
The fines come on the heels of legislation passed last fall designed to crack down on illegal hotels. The law makes it illegal in New York City to list entire apartments on Airbnb and other home-sharing services for fewer than 30 days. Fines for the third offense can reach a maximum of $7,500.
Freid has a hearing scheduled for May and is at risk of being slapped with another set of fines if he doesn't remove the ads before then, according to the Daily News. (He was initially hit with a dozen violations back in February but continued to advertise the rooms.)
Freid isn't a host on Airbnb, but city officials claim he's been advertising illegal rooms on Hotwire.com, Booking.com and other websites.
The executive director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement issued a warning to other offenders.
"We will ratchet up penalties against bad actors who flout the law and put New Yorkers and visitors in danger," Christian Klossner told the Daily News. "Turning homes into illegal hotels harms New York neighborhoods and our city as a whole."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's approval last October was met with a lawsuit from Airbnb and praise from the hotel industry, which has been beating the drum on illegal hotels for years.
READ MORE: What New Airbnb Regulations Mean for New York Hotels
Freid actually spoke with TravelPulse last year about the new law.
"With less Airbnb options, it can cause a supply and demand issue in terms of an increasing demand for hotel rooms, which in turn could drive prices up for hotels," Freid told TravelPulse. "However, currently in New York, pricing for hotels is actually the lowest that it has been in years, so regulations could help to balance out the market and help bring pricing back to where it was years ago."
"The regulations will mostly affect the people that are renting out their properties as Airbnb rentals more so than travelers," added Freid.