UWS pad goes for $99 per week thanks to little-known SRO housing law

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Thanks to an obscure city housing law for single-room occupancy hotels, one Upper West Side woman who checked in for a 10-day stay at The Imperial Court Hotel in 2009 is now enjoying the rights of a permanent, rent-stabilized resident and paying just $398 a month for her 200-square-foot room at 307 West 79th Street. According to the Post, Dorothy Williamson initially rented her room at the pre-war illegal hotel for $59 per night. As peak tourist season approached, the landlord asked her to leave, but Williamson was advised by the SRO Law Project to request a permanent lease, which gave her tenants rights and protected her from eviction. The rule applies to some 30,000 single-room occupancy units in the city, though few know about the loophole. “An individual can become a permanent tenant by simply requesting a lease,” said Marti Weithman, director of the project. Williamson won her case in Civil Court, where the judge ruled that her rent should be no more than $99.52 per week, which is what the room’s last permanent occupant paid. [Post]