A New York woman is facing a $300,000 lawsuit from her landlord for renting out her apartment on Airbnb for $200 per night.
The building owner was reportedly issued violations in May after city inspectors discovered that a tenant, Madaline Iacob, was charging $200 a night to stay in her $2,095-a-month apartment at 357 W. 54th Street in Manhattan.
Iacob’s lease reportedly says that “tenant understands that they may NOT sublet the apartment,” but the yoga-instructor and life coach was caught doing just that, according to court papers obtained by the New York Daily News. The building was issued four violations, including operating as an illegal hotel, because of Iacob’s actions.
Lawrence Silberman, the landlord’s attorney, said that they were “unaware of the rental scheme” and that they “did not participate in the profit from it," according to the New York Post.
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However, it was the landlord who was fined $61,250 for operating an illegal hotel, though he expects to pay around four times that price for another eight violations he was issued related to Iacob’s offenses.
“This is now a policy of the city,” Silberman told the Post. “The tenant does not get named or fined. The landlord’s strictly liable.”
According to Silberman, Iacob repeatedly denied the allegations that she rented out the apartment, claiming that the Airbnb guests were just family and friends. However, she was reportedly caught red-handed when the building owner saw somebody on their way to Iacob’s apartment with luggage.
Silberman and his client are asking for $250,000 to cover the fines, plus another $50,000 in legal fees in the lawsuit.
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Iacob told the Post that she was unaware of the lawsuit and that she is not an Airbnb host.