NYC Tenants Allegedly Turned 3-Bedroom Into 10-Bedroom

And rented rooms out on Airbnb, landlord says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2015 3:50 PM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2015 6:31 AM CST
Part of the Manhattan skyline can be seen as a Flushing-bound 7 train arrives at Queensboro Plaza station, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in the Queens borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(Newser) – A New York landlord says he rented out a three-bedroom apartment to two men—and they turned it into a 10-bedroom apartment and started renting out the rooms on Airbnb. The kicker: So far, he hasn't been able to evict the two official tenants, Burak Firik and Dogan Kimilli, WPIX reports. Landlord Eddie Shiew owns a three-story Queens home, and the person renting out the first floor alerted him to construction on the third floor. Shiew found that a construction crew had divided each bedroom into three bedrooms by putting up sheetrock. WPIX also investigated, and found people staying in the apartment who said they were paying $35 a night for a room after finding the property on Airbnb. Shiew brought in his own workmen to tear down the sheetrock dividers; he also changed the locks and told Firik and Kimilli to get out.

But "they went to court and got a court order against me," Shiew says. "They said I illegally locked them out." The court agreed, ordering Shiew to let them back in. This time, instead of putting up sheetrock, the tenants allegedly used curtains as room dividers and continued to rent out rooms on Airbnb. Meanwhile, Shiew hired a lawyer and started eviction proceedings. He points out that the lease they signed bars them from making "repairs or alterations," and his lawyer thinks the court will order them out within months. As Gothamist points out, Airbnb released anonymized data on their hosts last week to rebut allegations that many New York hosts are basically running illegal hostels, and said that just two Queens hosts had six or more listings on the site. Still, "as Firik and Kimilli's case proves, it's exceedingly difficult to evict tenants running Airbnb hotels," adds the post. (Here's another Airbnb horror story.)

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