New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced earlier on Monday a settlement that discontinues the operation of illegal hotels and allows low-income families affordable homes on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The $1.1 million settlement between the Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) and Hank Freid, the illegal hotel operator, finally ended the decade-long legal battle to protect tenants at buildings Fried used to operate illegal hotels. The lawsuit ended in a total of $2 million penalties.
“Today, we are not only shutting down an illegal hotel operator but also creating 80 new affordable homes for New Yorkers struggling to get by,” Adams said. “My administration is pursuing bold, innovative strategies like this one to create housing New Yorkers can actually afford. We need a response with the urgency to match the crisis, and we will explore every opportunity, in every corner of the city, to create the affordable housing New Yorkers need and deserve.”
The Fortune Society has obtained the building and will be working with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) in an effort to create 82 affordable apartments.
“As the new building owner and a nonprofit with decades of experience serving people impacted by the justice system and developing award-winning housing, the Fortune Society is deeply gratified and proud to be part of an effort that will lead to the creation of desperately needed safe, affordable permanent housing in a neighborhood of opportunity,” JoAnne Page, President and CEO of Fortune Society said.
As the administration makes strides towards necessary action to progress the community in New York City, many have commended the Mayor and various departments involved in this process.
“This settlement should send a strong message to those developers and companies that flagrantly violate the law on short-term rentals,” Leslie Thrope, Executive Director, and Housing Conservation Coordinator said. “You will pay for your bad acts! It is also encouraging that the building will be purchased and converted to house low-income and formerly homeless tenants, as well retain the current tenants in rent-stabilized permanently affordable apartments.”
“The settlement struck by Mayor Adams’ Office of Special Enforcement will help the city meet the critical need for affordable housing and serve as a powerful deterrent to building owners seeking to profiteer off residential apartments by illegally renting them out as hotel rooms,” New York State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, said.