SRO barred from renting rooms for less than 30 days

Judges’ ruling will affect city’s 300 single-room occupancy hotels

The Imperial Court Hotel at 307 West 79th Street on the Upper West Side
The Imperial Court Hotel at 307 West 79th Street on the Upper West Side

The Imperial Court Hotel, a single-room occupancy hotel on the Upper West Side, lost an appeal in court Thursday, with broad implications for the city’s SROs.

A panel of judges ruled the 227-room Upper West Side hotel, located at 307 West 79th Street, was not exempt from New York state’s 2010 Multiple Dwelling Law, and could not continue offering one-week rentals.

But whether the ruling is a good or a bad thing seems to be in the eye of the beholder, the New York Post reported.

“This really does affect a lot of families and others,” the hotel’s attorney Charles Chehebar told the Post, “Including tourists and people living paycheck to paycheck, or people who are down on their luck and need a place to stay for a week or two.”

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Tenant advocates, however, argued that SROs are so keen to rent short-term simply because it’s more profitable.

“It’s really about depriving New Yorkers of permanent resident housing,” Marty Weithman of MFY Legal Services, which filed an amicus brief in the case, told the Post. “Many SROs are taking advantage of residents by failing to tell them about their rights. You can become a rent-stabilized tenant by living in an SRO continuously for six months or by requesting a lease at any point after first registering,”

The Imperial Court is likely to appeal the ruling, Chehebar told the paper.

Back in 2014, the building’s owner, Ron Edelstein, accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of ordering the Department of Homeless Services to nix the owner’s plan to convert the SRO into a homeless shelter. [NYP]Ariel Stulberg