Big Apple sued for sending tenant to Airbnb listing

416 73rd Street East (Google Maps)

An unhappy ex-tenant is looking to take a bite out of Big Apple Properties.

In a complaint filed Sunday, Miguel Pastor accused his former owners of illegally evicting him and his roommate for renting one of the rooms in their Lenox Hill apartment on Airbnb. Pastor says Premier Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Big Apple, kicked him out even though his parent company operated Airbnbs from its own properties. He also alleges that the company refuses to return its security deposit of $ 25,500.

Big Apple disputes the claims. “This lawsuit has, in my opinion, no basis in fact or in law,” said Todd Nahins, a lawyer representing the firm.

Pastor and his roommate, Oluremi Adewole, signed a lease for a two-bedroom apartment at 416 East 73rd Street in September 2017, according to the lawsuit. The pastor gave Big Apple a security deposit of $ 12,780.

He and Adewole shared one of the rooms and occasionally rented the other on Airbnb. When Big Apple learned of the arrangement, the building management agent asked Pastor to pay an additional $ 12,780 security deposit or face eviction, according to the complaint. He says he was not told to stop putting the room on Airbnb, even though his lease contained an endorsement explicitly prohibiting tenants from short-term renting. After paying the additional bond, Big Apple extended its lease for a year.

The Buildings Ministry was not so accommodating with Pastor’s sideways bustle. In December 2018, they issued a partial vacancy order because the unauthorized Airbnb rentals violated the city’s multiple housing law. As a result, Pastor says he was locked out of his apartment and forced to find other accommodation. Although he had promised three days later to stop the rentals, Pastor still needed his owners to schedule an inspection with the DOB to get the vacancy order canceled.

Instead, according to Pastor, Big Apple has gone rotten.

In March 2019, the property manager decided to terminate Pastor’s lease due to Airbnb rentals. A judge ruled they had not given him time to remedy the breach of the lease, buying time from Pastor, but Big Apple has consistently refused to schedule an inspection to reopen the apartment. Instead of a fight, Pastor gave up the lease in September, and Big Apple got the vacancy order canceled soon after.

Now, while Pastor lives in Mallorca, Spain, he is suing the New York Supreme Court for triple damages – amounting to $ 76,680 – plus interest.

“He was behind the release order, he caused damage to my client – fines – and I guess that’s why [Big Apple] withheld the security deposit, ”Nahins said.

This isn’t Big Apple’s first Airbnb mess. In June, he settled illegal short-term rentals with the city at other properties managed by the company. Although Big Apple did not admit wrongdoing, she and the building owner were ordered to pay a settlement of $ 700,000. The building owner covered the costs, but Big Apple had to change its leases to explicitly ban short-term illegal occupancy.

The pastor’s lawyer declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

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