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Mayor Lauds Crackdown On Illegal NYC Hotels Frequented By Tourists

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city's crackdown on illegal hotels is showing results.

He said 1,897 violations were issued last year to landlords who were using their residential buildings as hotels.

Those landlords were fined a minimum of $800 for the illegal hotel conversions.

WCBS 880's Steve Knight With More On The Story


Kathleen McGee, the director of the city's Office of Special Enforcement, said tourists who think they are getting a bargain are getting ripped off.

"Many of these locations, in terms of price point, are directly in line with what a traditional hotel is offering up their services for," she told WCBS 880's Steve Knight.

McGee called the illegal hotels "death traps" and said they often feature 6 to 10 beds per room and have no fire alarms. She said some even block doors and windows to create more space.

The Bloomberg administration said that 51 of the buildings were vacated for posing immediate hazardous conditions such as the absence of fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

For example, 44 people were staying at one three-family house in Brooklyn.

A New York state law that went into effect last year boosted the city's ability to crack down on illegal hotels.

The new law makes it illegal for any residential building to rent out any rooms for anybody staying less than 30 days, Knight reported.

Bloomberg said Friday that progress is being made but city officials need to maintain vigilance against the safety hazards that illegal hotels create.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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