Fighting home-as-hotel rentals, an NYC task force knocks on doors, follows digital trails

From an office by the Brooklyn Bridge, a specialized team of investigators tackles a fast-growing concern in New York City: apartments being rented like hotel rooms.

Building and fire inspectors, police, lawyers, city tax specialists and others combine door-knocking, digital sleuthing and occasional video surveillance. It's an unusual approach to an issue arising around the country as Airbnb and other websites spark a short-term rental boom.

The New York Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement has cited over 7,000 fire and building code violations, shut down hundreds of short-term apartments and sued several landlords over the last nine years.

Some lawmakers want to triple the illegal-hotel investigation staff. The rentals are often illegal in the city, and officials say they're safety risks.

Some short-term rental proponents call the city's tactics heavy-handed.