NY Landlord Falls Foul of Airbnb Rules at a Cost of $1.2m Fine

Date: January 2018

Location: Manhattan, New York, USA

Solly Assa Credit: Getty-Images

A landlord accused of running an illegal hotel out of his Midtown apartment building agreed to pay $1.2 million, marking the largest settlement of its kind in the city.

Salim “Solly” Assa, who owns four buildings in Manhattan, agreed to settle claims that he was responsible for apartments at his buildings being turned into hotel rooms
for tourists, the New York Post reported. According to the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, this is the highest sum paid for claims related to running illegal hotels
to date.

As part of the settlement, Assa’s buildings — 15 and 19 West 55th Street, 334 West 46th Street and 336 West 46th Street — will be overseen by the city and an independent
property manager for the next three years.

In August, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge found that Assa had ignored 100 notices of violations at his four buildings, which stemmed from the apartments being listed on

According to the city, brothers Eran Suki and Ben Zion Suky rented out apartments at Assa’s properties and charged tourists for nightly stays. The city said there was a
business partnership between Assa and the brothers, which Assa has denied.

In a prepared statement, Assa admitted no wrongdoing, said he had no knowledge of the illegal rentals, and blamed tenants for listing units on Airbnb.

“This has been a regrettable process,” he said. “However, we are pleased that we were ultimately able to work cooperatively with the City to settle this matter and we
look forward to focusing all of our efforts on the projects in our pipeline.”

The Office of Special Enforcement started cracking down on apartments listed on Airbnb in February. In November, the city settled with landlords Majid and Hamid Kermanshah
or $1 million. The two had listed apartments at 59 Fifth Avenue and 5 West 31st Street on Airbnb.

THPT Comment: Airbnb clearly has it’s place in cities such as New York, London, Paris but private landlords ignore the city rules at their peril… Hoteliers have rightly claimed that such landlords need to operate alongside hotel owners on a level playing field re health and safety, business rates and other taxes etc and have finally bought in rules to differentiate Airbnb type lettings and operating a would-be hotel. Interestingly one hotelier, Robert Holland, when with Bespoke at The Bermondsey Square hotel, went against the hotelier/Airbnb tide and embraced the opportunity by writing to all the Airbnb landlords in his area offering them a key-collection service, use of his chambermaids, etc (for a reasonable fee) thus giving the end-user a better experience, assisting the Airbnb owner and making non-residents aware of his hotel restaurant services! Lateral thinking eh!

First Seen: The Real Deal