- Associated Press - Monday, February 16, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City councilman says illegal hotels are a threat to affordable housing and a safety hazard - and it would be easier to complain about them.

In a letter to city officials Monday, Councilman Benjamin Kallos urged that a category for illegal hotels be added to the 311-call directory.

Kallos says 311 complaints are the primary way that the city is alerted to the problem. He says the complaints lead to inspections and fines.

He says the city’s 311 mobile application currently allows users to choose from 20 quality-of-life issues to complain about. He wants illegal hotels to be added to the list.

He cited recent problems involving the hotels. Among them was the destruction of a five-story Manhattan building that was operating as an illegal hotel.

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