Monday, March 7, 2011

Queens woman lands $99-a-week Upper West Side apartment

Last Updated: 7:17 AM, March 6, 2011
Posted: 1:03 AM, March 6, 2011

It's not an urban myth: an Upper West Side apartment that goes for $99 a week.
Dorothy Williamson, 70, a retired computer-systems administrator from Queens, checked into the Imperial Court Hotel at 79th Street and West End Avenue as a "tourist" in 2009 for a 10-day stay.
Two years later she's still there, living as a permanent, rent-stabilized resident, paying $398 a month for a room in a classic pre-war building in one of Manhattan's priciest neighborhoods.
All Williamson had to do was request a permanent lease.
The sweetheart deal comes courtesy of a little-known quirk in the city's housing law that applies to the city's 30,000 Single Room Occupancies, known as SROs.

"An individual can become a permanent tenant by simply requesting a lease," said Marti Weithman, director of the SRO Law Project. "If someone comes in and pays for a night, he or she can request a lease orally, or in writing. The very act of requesting a lease gives you statutory tenancy."
Once you've asked for the lease, you can't be evicted.
"When these places are being used as a hotel, tourists don't realize they have this option," said Weithman. Anyone who stays in a room for 30 consecutive days automatically becomes a permanent resident.

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