New York Post Councilman wants de Blasio to combat illegal hotels by Michael Gartland
A Manhattan councilman is calling on Mayor de Blasio to do more to combat illegal hotels, saying they pose a threat to tourists and neighbors alike.
In a Feb. 16 letter to the city’s Department of Information Technology, Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos urged the agency to provide more public information on complaints about illegal hotels and apartment owners that use sites like Airbnb and requested that 311 create a specific category for people to lodge complaints.
“A massive fire consumed a five-story Manhattan building that was operating as an illegal hotel,” Kallos wrote in the letter.
“This serves as an unfortunate example of why the illegal hotel complaint process would greatly benefit from added transparency,” he added.
His proposal comes less than two weeks after that fire raged through a Hell’s Kitchen building operated by a company that racked up more than $100,000 in outstanding fines for illegally renting out apartments.
The mayor’s office defended its record on illegal hotels Sunday.
“When we have a bad actor putting people’s safety at risk, we’re going to go after them,” said de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell.