Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

Landlord sues NYC artist for renting out loft through Airbnb

If you're a tenant or a landlord in New York, then you should know that short-term subleases through websites like Airbnb are prohibited. Additionally, most leases require the landlord's permission to sublease. Unapproved subleasing could result in eviction, and that may be the case for artist Eileen Hickey.

Hickey, who was formerly a curator for the Guggenheim Museum and whose art has appeared in movies, is being sued by her landlord for allegedly renting out her rent-stabilized loft in Tribeca. According to the lawsuit, the rent for the loft is $1,463 a month, but Hickey has used Airbnb to rent out the property for a monthly income of $4,500.

In addition to allegations of illegal subletting, the landlord's attorney claims that Hickey and her husband took out a $470,000 mortgage four years ago for a condominium in the East Village. Court papers indicate that Hickey claimed on the mortgage that her primary residence was the East Village condo, though she still had the rent-stabilized loft in Tribeca.

A person with a second apartment can be evicted from a rent-stabilized unit.

In this case, the landlord claims the illegal subletting came to light when he saw that a renter from Spain welcomed friends by hanging a banner from the unit's fire escape. Through his lawsuit, the landlord is seeking a portion of the money Hickey has reportedly brought in by renting out the property, which the suit says has been advertised on Airbnb since 2012.

New Yorkers may want to check back for the outcome of this particularly modern landlord/tenant dispute.

Source: New York Post, "Artist sued for 'subletting' loft on Airbnb," Julia Marsh, June 10, 2014

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