Transient hotel order overturned

City claimed that West Side residential buildings were illegally converted to transient hotels. In October 2007, a lower court granted the City’s request for a preliminary injunction against three Upper West Side residential buildings, the Montroyal, the Continental, and the Pennington, ordering them to stop using the SROs as transient hotels. The court found that the transient use violated both the Zoning Resolution and the buildings’ certificates of occupancy. Although the multiple dwelling law allowed minimal transient use, the three buildings were using a significant portion of their rooms for transients.

On appeal, the First Department lifted the injunction, ruling that the City failed to show it would ultimately succeed in proving that the transient use constituted a violation of the Zoning Resolution or of the C of Os. The rental of a minority of units for non-permanent use, the court ruled, would not violate either. There was no requirement that the buildings be used exclusively for permanent occupancy. Both the definition of apartment hotels in the Zoning Resolution and the requirements of a class A multiple dwelling contemplated a secondary use. The court also found that the language in both the Zoning Resolution and multiple dwelling law was vague in defining the words “transient” and “permanent.”

New York City v. 330 Continental, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 00460 (1st Dep’t Jan. 29, 2009).

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