This $300k lawsuit is your new Airbnb nightmare scenario

By Virginia K. Smith | December 22, 2015 - 9:59AM

If you've been Airbnb-ing your New York rental apartment on the sly, it might be time to quit while you're ahead. One Midtown landlord is suing their tenant to the tune of $300,000 after she allegedly repeatedly rented out her apartment on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in fines for the building, the New York Daily News reports.

The problem is this: Even though it's the tenant who's in the wrong for renting out her pad as an illegal hotel, under New York law, it's the landlord who gets fined, and since the renter in question allegedly continued hosting paid guests at her apartment after incurring $60,000 worth of fines for her building, the landlord's no worried they could owe up to $250,000. As such, they're suing the renter for the fines and their mounting legal fees.

"Under the law, the landlord is strictly liable even though it's the tenant causing the violation—and even though we're not participating in this with this lady," the building's lawyer told the paper.

This appears to be a particularly brazen case—continuing to use Airbnb after being caught by city inspectors and incurring massive fines for the building was, to put it gently, a risky move. But considering that, more generally, landlords around the city have been wising up to short-term rentals--and devising new ways to stop, them, as reported by DNAinfo--this might be a sign that as far as your short-term rental side hustle? It might be more risk than it's worth.


Condo owners: beware this tricky fine print in the contract before you rent

Find out how much Airbnb has caused rents to rise in your neighborhood

Airbnb, HomeAway, OneFineStay, FlipKey: Which short-term rental service is right for you?

How to stay safe when Airbnb-ing abroad

That Airbnb orgy victim? He now says he's "homeless" and on the tenant blacklist

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.