“Each of the three defendants acknowledges they may be charged for future violations of the city’s zoning bylaw if there is an illegal short-term rental of properties.”
The defendants, Roman Neyolov, Svetlana Neyolova and Alexander Tkachenko, were not in the courtroom when their charges were withdrawn. A maximum fine for a zoning violation is $25,000 for an individual and $50,000 for corporations.
But their lawyer, David Genis, said his clients thought they were entitled to rent out the homes for brief stays after receiving erroneous advice from the city.
“When the city started looking into it, and prosecuting it, they saw that my clients never had any bad intentions, in fact they had intentions to comply,” Genis said outside court.
“City staff did not provide erroneous information to the defendants,” a city spokesman wrote in email. “The defendants may have misunderstood what were the lawful property uses of their residential property.”
Brian Kellow, who lives across the street, said he doesn’t care that the charges were withdrawn, but is just relieved the “integrity of our street was restored.
“My primary concern, and the concern of my neighbours, was that these houses were wrecking our street,” he said Friday. “What we wanted was neighbours. The idea that new families, or people will be moving in long-term to these houses, is great news. That’s all we ever wanted.”
He added things were much quieter on Bleecker Street this summer, compared to 2016.
Fairbnb, the union-led coalition fighting to have the home-rental business regulation, is disappointed the charges didn’t stick because, it says, no message of deterrence gets sent.