Eileen Hickey, a 72-year-old artist and former Guggenheim Museum curator, says she put her rent-stabilized New York City apartment on Airbnb in 2012 to help pay for her husband’s medical bills. Now she’s facing eviction from the apartment she has called home for more than 40 years, along with a huge $185,000 fine.
The New York Post reported that a Manhattan judge ordered Hickey to vacate the apartment—a two-bedroom in Tribeca, for which she pays only $1,500 per month—no later than June 9. She also must pay $185,000. The amount includes a fine for violating codes and also covers the legal bills of her landlord, who first sued Hickey in 2014 for illegally subletting the apartment.
The landlord of the property, at 460 Greenwich Street, says that Hickey had been earning $4,500 a month by renting the apartment on Airbnb. The New York City Rent Stabilization Code prohibits tenants from making a profit by subletting their below-market-rate apartments.
What do you think? Is this fair, or excessively punitive? I think the eviction is fair -- she broke the lease, she should get booted -- but the fine seems to me to be extraordinarily punitive and excessive.