Landlord Fined $2,500 for Tenant's Conversion of Apartment into SRO Units
LVT Number: #32211
DOB issued a violation notice to landlord after its inspector found occupancy in a manner contrary to that allowed by DOB records. DOB's inspector had found that a fifth-floor apartment was created and occupied as three SRO units with a shared kitchen and bathroom. The inspector also noted that the living room was converted into a bedroom, increasing apartment occupancy. At a hearing, landlord stated that the apartment was rented to an elderly tenant as a two-bedroom apartment. The tenant had created the cited condition, and landlord had no knowledge of it until the violation was issued. Landlord was barred from entering the apartment because tenant had gotten a restraining order against them. Landlord then started an eviction proceeding against tenant and applied for a court order to get access. This hadn't been granted by the time of the hearing with DOB. The ALJ ruled for landlord and dismissed the violation.
DOB appealed and won. DOB argued that landlord's ignorance of the condition wasn't a defense. ECB agreed. Notice of the illegal occupancy wasn't required to find landlord in violation. ECB had made similar rulings in a number of other cases. Landlord also didn't prove impossibility to correct the violation. Landlord was fined $2,500.
DOB v. C.P. Realty Co.: ECB App. No. 220296 (6/30/22)[2-pg. document]