Related sues “Wolf of Airbnb”

Konrad Bicher and the MiMa at 450 West 42nd Street (Google Maps)

Related Companies is the latest landlord to say he was the victim of a short-term rental scammer who calls himself “The Wolf of Airbnb”.

The company says Konrad Bicher runs a short-term rental business out of his MiMa luxury rental tower in Hell’s Kitchen with an associate who owes over $100,000 in rent.

“His modus operandi is to enter into leases for residential apartments in Manhattan or, as here, to fight his way into the occupation, and carry out a kind of “shutdown” operation,” the lawyers for the owner in a lawsuit filed last week. .

“This includes renting the apartment as a profit center through Airbnb, Peerspace and other similar platforms for short-term rentals, non-payment of rent, use of the pandemic and laws relating thereto to delay any proceedings and leave the point of deportation.”

Related alleges that Bicher is using a 43rd-floor apartment in the rental tower at 450 West 42nd Street as a hotel-type rental. The unit is leased to Haley Frey, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. In February, Frey was ordered by a judge in another case to pay nearly $111,000 in back rent for the rent-stabilized apartment.

Reached by text, Bicher said The real deal that he hasn’t lived in the apartment for over a year and that Frey occasionally rents the place out on Airbnb.

A person who identified themselves on the phone as Frey said she had rented the apartment as a hotel room several times and had stopped when told to do so by building management. She claimed Related illegally locked her out of the apartment and moved out in November.

A representative for Related did not respond to a request for comment. The company has already tackled Airbnb rentals at MiMa. In a landmark 2015 case, an appeals court upheld Henry Ikezi’s eviction from his chic two-bedroom penthouse.

Bicher and Frey did not say how they knew each other, but they appear to be in the same industry. Frey is accused in two other cases of non-payment of apartments in the city center, and for one of them she uses a lawyer who also represents Bicher.

Like TRD Previously reported, Bicher, 30, has been accused by a handful of landlords of operating illegal short-term rentals while citing Covid rent difficulties and trying to bolster landlord buyouts.

Bicher has already said TRD he simply found a flaw in the system. He wrote that his landlords tried to stop him by cutting power lines, painting his apartment doors, installing cameras, changing locks and flooding his apartments.

“In New York, tenants have rights,” he wrote. “I exercise my rights as a tenant, but I am portrayed as a crook.”

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