A Man Stays Rent Free At A New York Hotel For 5 Years By Only Paying For One Night He Now Claims The Hotel's Ownership!

A Man Stays Rent-Free At A New York Hotel For 5 Years By Only Paying For One Night | He Now Claims The Hotel’s Ownership!

In a surprising twist, a man’s clever use of a little-known housing law in New York City helped him get a rent-free hotel stay for 5 years. Interestingly, he has secured this rent-free stay by just paying for one night! This curious case, involving Mickey Barreto and the New Yorker Hotel, has become a conversation starter about property rights and hospitality laws. Mickey is now trying to claim ownership of the hotel. How did Barreto manage to live rent-free for so long and how is he now claiming to own the iconic building? Let’s dive into learn the full story of this unusual case of NYC.

Rent-Free Living in NYC For 5 Years At The Cost of One Night!

Mickey Barreto’s ingenious strategy began in June 2018 when he checked into the New York Hotel. Barreto only paid $200 to book a single night. He learned about a hidden loophole in the city’s housing laws. Barreto realized that as an occupant of a room in a building constructed before 1969, he could potentially demand a six-month lease. Upon his request, the hotel outright refused and asked him to leave.

Not having any setback from the Hotel’s refusal, Barreto quickly took legal action.

“So I went to court the next day. The judge denied it. I appealed to the state Supreme Court and I won the appeal.”

Mickey Barreto

He claimed his success in part to the building owner’s lawyers’ absence at a pivotal moment in the case. The owners never negotiated a lease, but they had no legal grounds to evict him. As a result, Barreto was eventually granted possession of a room by the court and given a key. From that point forward, he continued to live in the hotel until July 2023 without paying rent!

Man Stays Rent Free At A New York Hotel
Image source: Commercial Observer / Daily Mail

Case of Claiming Hotel’s Ownership

Barreto’s bold residency was only the tip of the iceberg. He soon escalated the situation by forging a deed and uploading it to a city website. His claim suggested he now owned the New Yorker Hotel, transferring the title from its actual owners, the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, which acquired the property in 1976.

“As alleged, Mickey Barreto repeatedly and fraudulently claimed ownership of one of the City’s most iconic landmarks, the New Yorker Hotel.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg addressed this matter.

Indeed, the hotel’s provenance is impressive. It is a block away from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, the New Yorker’s massive, red neon sign is an instantly recognizable feature of Manhattan’s skyline. It has hosted famous figures such as Nikola Tesla, and Muhammad Ali. The hotel once housed NBC studios – an iconic backdrop to some of the city’s illustrious events.

Barreto faced legal action from the Unification Church over fraudulent deed claims and portrayal as the owner on LinkedIn. However, he claimed no malicious intent.

“I never intended to commit any fraud. I don’t believe I ever committed any fraud,” he asserted. His endeavors were an active stance against the church’s profit motives. There is criticism surrounding the Unification Church’s activities, including its controversial mass weddings and connections to North Korea, according to Barreto. He represented himself in all civil actions but eventually sought legal counsel for his criminal defense.


A New York City legal loophole gave Mickey Barreto a 5-year rent-free hotel stay. But, he then tried to claim he owned the building and was arrested. #newyorker #newyorkerhotel #newyork #newyorkcity #nyc #manhattan #nychotels #legal #rent #rentfree #nycrent #apartment #hotel #hotelroom #building #nycfree #thenewyorker #greenscreen

♬ ■ News News-Drone-IT-AI(963995) – ImoKenpi-Dou


The strange account of Mickey Barreto, who found a legal crevice to exploit for a five-year, rent-free stay at a New York hotel, is a head-scratcher. It conveys a broader illustration of how loopholes in laws can lead to extraordinary circumstances. This story intertwines elements of law, real estate, and New York’s rich cultural tapestry.

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