- Search AirBnB and similar websites for any listings that could be in the landlord’s buildings. Keep records of the findings;
- Book the apartment through the website under an assumed name. Keep receipts. They will be admissible evidence at trial.
- Legally inspect the apartment pursuant to the lease and take pictures (focusing on whether or not there is food in the refrigerator, clothing in the closets, locked bedroom/closet doors, toiletries in the bathroom, etc.
- Document visitors in the building where the alleged rental is taking place.
- Install a camera at the door to the apartment
Relief to Be Sought after confirming and verifying that an apartment is being rented illegally to transient guests.
Generally, there are 3 types of relief available, a preliminary injunction, a permanent injunction, and an eviction.
- Preliminary Injunction - a form of equitable relief entered before the final determination on the merits of a case, in order to temporarily restrain parties from conducting acts that would harm another party before the action is complete. In preliminary injunction cases, landlords seek preliminary injunctions to prevent tenants from renting or advertising to rent apartments while the matter is being decided in court on the ultimate relief sought whether that is a permanent injunction or eviction.
- Permanent Injunction - a form of equitable relief that is issued at the close of the lawsuit to permanently bar the objectionable conduct. A party seeks the ultimate relief when they want to prevent another party from acting in a certain way after the close of the case. In permanent injunction cases, Landlords seek permanent injunctions to prevent tenants from renting or advertising to rent apartments in the future.
- Eviction - a landlord may seek an eviction of the tenant as the ultimate relief in order to regain possession of the premises.
Generally, if the landlord seeks to solely stop the prohibited conduct but does not have an issue with the tenant remaining in possession of the dwelling, injunctive relief is all the landlord needs to seek. This has to be done in Supreme Court because Housing Court, and would require the landlord to seek possession as the ultimate relief sought.
If the landlord seeks both injunctive relief and possession, they can proceed in Housing Court or Supreme Court, however Housing Court will likely be a faster process since it is a summary proceeding.
If the landlord only seeks possession, then he/she must obtain an eviction, this can be sought in either Housing Court or Supreme Court, but again, the process in housing court is usually much faster.
The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to Airbnb subletting and subletting to transient visitors are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning illegal Airbnb activity, or otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, SINGH & RANI, LLP can assist you
See generally Queens County Bar Association CLE Material, Page 28, 29 (2018).