Loft Building Is Interim Multiple Dwelling

LVT Number: #24473

Landlord sued to eject tenants from loft building, claiming that they used the building for residential purposes in violation of their commercial leases. Tenants asked the court to dismiss the case. They claimed that the building was subject to the city's Loft Law and that questions as to whether the building could be legalized for residential purposes should be referred to the Loft Board. The court ruled for tenants and dismissed the case. The building qualified as an interim multiple dwelling. The building's original Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) was for commercial use, it had no residential C of O, and tenants had lived in the building for 12 consecutive months between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec, 31, 2009. Each of the four full-floor units was at least 550 square feet and opened onto a hallway. Landlord also failed to show that tenants' residential use could not be legalized. Landlord's architect claimed that the building couldn't be legalized because the distance between the rear lot line and the building's windows was less than five feet. But tenants' architect submitted plans and drawings for three proposals for building alterations that would result in building code compliance. Specific questions as to how the building should be legalized must be submitted to DOB and the Loft Board.