Updated MDL: Should I Stay (longer than 30 days) or Should I Go?

Last year, New York State updated its Multiple Dwelling Law (“MDL”) to address a loophole exposed by Single Room Occupancy operators.  The law originally said that Class A multiple dwellings were “occupied, as a rule, for permanent residence purposes”.  The SRO operators won a legal challenge that hinged on the phrase “as a rule” – whereby they argued, and the court agreed, that the proper interpretation of this phrase meant that up to 49% of a building could be for transient purposes and still meet the intent of the law.

The line between permanent and transient uses is 30 days.  Essentially, if someone rents a room for 30 days or more, it’s a residential use.  If they rent for less than 30 days, it’s a transient (or hotel) use.

The State and the City were very unhappy with the outcome of the lawsuit and saw a need to act to prevent these transient uses from operating in residential zoning districts, where they would otherwise be illegal.  So the updated language has removed the phrase “as a rule”. Continue reading

Tribeca Rezoning Puts the Squeeze on As-Of-Right Hotels

An article from this week’s New York Observer discusses limitations on hotels proposed for Tribeca. Generally, hotels, considered a “commercial” use under the zoning resolution, are permitted in New York City in all commercial zoning districts (which also permit residential uses) and some manufacturing zoning districts (which do not permit residential uses) with no limitations. The proposal, which is part of a general overhaul of the zoning in northern Tribeca, would limit hotels permitted as-of-right in the area to those with 100 rooms or less. This is worth taking a closer look at, since it’s the first time in recent history that the City has proposed restrictions on hotels in a commercial area. Continue reading