Home / Lifestyle / Affordable East Harlem unit doubles as illegal hostel

Affordable East Harlem unit doubles as illegal hostel

An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostel and getting his rent paid by the state, to boot. An ad on Booking.com showcased several beds in the unit at 1900 Lexington Ave. (at E. 122nd St.) for $  49 each over the holiday weekend.Jan Ransom An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostel and getting his rent paid by the state, to boot. An ad on Booking.com showcased several beds in the unit at 1900 Lexington Ave. (at E. 122nd St.) for $ 49 each over the holiday weekend.

An East Harlem landlord is taking steps to shutter an illegal hostel that has been operating in the Lexington Ave. building since the summer, the Daily News has learned.

A three-bedroom apartment in the building at E. 122nd St. is being rented out on booking.com, where guests are invited to stay in apartment 6G at a nightly rate of $ 199 per bed this holiday season.

Most galling, perhaps, is the fact that this unit is enrolled in a federal program that keeps rents affordable for low-income residents. The apartment in question rents for $ 1,017 per month — almost $ 2,000 per month less than the unit would fetch at market rate.

That means the tenant is making a killing — on the taxpayers’ dime.

“We don’t condone this; we will put a stop to this practice,” said Joseph Tahl, who heads Manhattan North Management, which owns the building and others in upper Manhattan.

illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com. illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com. illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com. illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com.
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  • illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com.
  • illegal hostel. The landlord is advertising this on the www.booking.com.

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The apartment is one of 119 units in the 18-story, 134-unit complex reserved for tenants earning up to 60% of the area median income — $ 23,850 for a family of four and $ 11,670 for a single-person household. For some tenants, rents can be set as low as $ 100 per month.

“It’s taking that affordable unit from somebody who needs it,” said Alvin Johnson, head of the building’s tenant association.

The online listing doesn’t specify how many beds are set up in the three bedrooms, but one photo shows two bunk beds in one of the rooms.

Bandar Fahad, 19, was visiting town from Boston and stopped by to check it out. When security guards told him the building wasn’t a hotel, he called the company advertising the rooms, Hostel Hive, and an agent told him to go upstairs and check out the apartment.

An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostelJan Ransom An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostel An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostel.Jan Ransom An East Harlem landlord has been trying to crack down on a tenant who has been operating a three-bedroom apartment as an illegal hostel.
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He saw six beds in one room, he said, each renting for $ 199 per night — too much for his student budget, he said.

The Daily News managed to get inside the hostel on Tuesday and spotted gleaming kitchen appliances, a shoe rack, luggage and notices to guests about maintaining the apartment’s cleanliness.

A woman who answered the door provided a phone number for a man she said was her boss at Hostel Hive, but that person did not return several requests seeking comment.

Johnson said the apartment recently changed hands and he did not know the tenant’s name.

Tenant Association president Alvin JohnsonTenant Association president Alvin Johnson

“This is a common problem throughout the city, especially in buildings in Harlem,” said Tahl, who vowed to get the hostel closed. “. . . People do it all the time to make extra income in the city.”

Illegal temporary lodging, some operating under the guise of online rental services, are a major problem for the city, said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

As a City Councilwoman, she sponsored legislation that would increase the fines for illegal hotels.

“Illegal conversion of residential apartments for use by tourists just makes our city’s housing crunch worse,” Brewer said. “Especially when it occurs in taxpayer-subsidized affordable housing.”

jransom@nydailynews.com

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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