City Awarded Court Appointed Manager in Midtown Buildings to Prevent Illegal Rentals

August 2, 2017

NEW YORK - The Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) announced today that the New York State Supreme Court appointed an independent manager to take operational control, and bring into legal compliance, two midtown buildings following their owners' failure to comply with a court order stating that they must stop allowing rentals of permanent residential units as illegal hotel rooms. Such property managers are rarely ordered, since courts require significant evidence of owner misconduct to appoint independent property managers, which the City was able to provide in this instance.
"This decision should serve as a warning that the City does not limit its enforcement efforts to issuing violations. When warranted, we will seek to have court-appointed managers take control of buildings to prevent illegal hotel rentals," said Catherine Wan, Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement. "Our highest priority is protecting the City's building stock, and we will use every enforcement tool available to prevent permanent housing from being taken off the market."
Between 2013 and 2015 the properties located at 334 West 46th Street and 15 West 55th Street, controlled by corporate entities owned by Salim Assa, were issued over 100 violations for illegal short-term rentals and unsafe conditions. Due to the failure to discontinue the illegal use, OSE filed a lawsuit in February of 2015 seeking an injunction against the illegal usage of the building. The failure to comply with this injection led to the appointment of the independent property manager.
The New York State Supreme Court outlined their determination to appoint a manager in their nearly 60-page decision. Once the owners demonstrate the conditions are corrected, they can request from the court to reclaim management authority over their properties.

"Today's announcement is excellent news and a great relief for the tenants of these two buildings," said NYS Senator Liz Krueger. "For far too long Salim Assa's actions have made life very difficult for residents, who deserve a great deal of credit for working closely with the City and their local elected officials to fight for their homes. I commend the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement for their dogged efforts, and I look forward to continuing to work with OSE and the tenants to ensure these buildings are safe and livable."

"The illegal short-term rental of residential apartments makes our housing crisis worse and forces law-abiding tenants to put up with a revolving door of unsupervised strangers in their hallways," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I'm pleased to see the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement deploying every legal tool available against landlords who scoff at the law."