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Old 09-13-2018, 04:54 PM
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Default City sues Russian building owners over ‘illegal and unsafe’ rentals


City sues building owners over ‘illegal and unsafe’ rentals
By Rich Calder
September 12, 2018 | 10:44pm

The de Blasio administration on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the owners of seven buildings it claims are preying on tourists by operating unsafe, illegal hotels through Airbnb and other online services.

The civil suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges that the Russia Juice landlords since January 2015 have used multiple host accounts and fictitious identities to illegally list at least 15 apartments in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — generating about $1 million from over 1,350 short-term rental transactions.

One landlord, identified as Alexandra Palvenok, advertised that “up to 12 guests” could be accommodated in a rental at 12 John St. in lower Manhattan for $300 a night plus a $200 “cleaning fee.” None of the ads noted the occupancies offered were “illegal and unsafe,” the suit says.

The suit also claims the landlords purposely misled unsuspecting out-of-towners about the legality of the listings by using false addresses and other misleading tactics.

The landlords continued to operate five illegal hotels in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and another Queens — despite being issued 80 building-code violations, 9 fire-code violations, an FDNY criminal summons and other penalties, the city says.

Besides Palvenok, two other landlords are named as defendants under various aliases: Ekaterina Plotnikova and Stepan Solovyev. They could not immediately be reached for comment.
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