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ILLEGAL HOSTELS BEWARE

Real Estate Legality

In addition to legislation tightening the noose around illegal Airbnb operators in New York, the city has also started taking action.

On December 7, the city raided a warehouse at 502 Morgan Avenue in Greenpoint that operated as a concert venue and an illegal Airbnb rental operation. For $30/night, you were offered a bed in one of five windowless bedrooms with an illegally installed gas line.

The raid came a short five days after the Oakland, California warehouse fire that killed thirty-six people. Similar to the Morgan Avenue warehouse, the Oakland building doubled as an artist living and performance space. Zack Wheeler, a Seattle transplant and the Morgan Avenue property’s operator, was ordered to vacate the building. No additional fines or charges have been imposed. A phone number for the limited liability company that owns the Greenpoint property has been disconnected, and Zack Wheeler has declined to comment.

Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for the city told the New York Post that the city is “relieved no one was hurt,” and further urged New Yorkers and visitors to “be aware of dangers posed by illegal housing and performance spaces – and report them to 311 no matter where in the city they occur.”

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