In the Matter of 602-4 EAST 138TH ST. CORP., Respondent,
JOSEPH D. MCGOLDRICK, as State Rent Administrator, Appellant.
APPEAL from an order of the Supreme Court at Special Term (SCHREIBER, J.), entered February 15, 1954, in New York County, which, in a proceeding under article 78 of the Civil Practice Act, vacated an order of the State Rent Administrator. The order of said administrator had determined that certain apartments were not exempt from rent control and were not entitled to an order of decontrol and had fixed the maximum rents of said apartments.
Beatrice Shainswit of counsel (Robert H. Schaffer, attorney), for appellant.
Louis Goldin for respondent.
In December, 1951, the landlord purchased an eight-room brownstone three-story house that had been used as a private home and office by its physician owner for many years. The new owner converted it into an eight-apartment dwelling, for as many families, by erecting partitions, installing some light sanitary facilities, and making other minor alterations to adapt it to its new multiple family use. The question is whether the building had become exempt from control or was only subject to decontrol (see Matter of Fiesta Realty Corp. v. McGoldrick, 284 A.D. 551); and if subject to decontrol, whether an order of decontrol should have issued from the State housing rent administrator.
It is claimed that the building became exempt from control because there was a conversion from a nonhousing to a housing use (State Residential Rent Law, L. 1946, ch. 274, § 2, subd. 2, par. [g], cl. ). This claim turns on the proof that the prior physician owner used the parlor floor 'exclusively' for professional purposes.
It is also claimed that the building was entitled to an order of decontrol, in any event, because additional housing accommodations had been created (§ 2, subd. 2, par. [g], cl. ). This claim turns on whether the State Rent Administrator was entitled to reject the alterations in the building as insufficient to meet the requirements of the statute that 'there has been a structural change involving substantial alterations or remodeling'.
While the proceeding relates technically only to four of the apartments, the issues involve all of the building and its eight apartments. Two of the apartments in this proceeding were on the floor of the building that had been used for professional purposes.
Special Term annulled the determination of the State Housing Rent Commission fixing maximum rents for four apartments in the converted premises, holding that the entire building was exempt from control. It is our view that the order was erroneous. There was sufficient evidence before the State agency for determination that the conversion of the building and the floor used for professional purposes did not constitute a change from a nonhousing to a housing use in the terms of the statute. Hence, the premises had not become exempt from control.
This brownstone building, consisting of three floors and a basement, had been used for many years by its then owner, a physician, as a one-family dwelling. The physician practiced his profession from the parlor floor. He made affidavit in the administrative proceeding that the parlor floor had never been used for any purpose other than professional use. The commission found, as stated in its brief, and there was evidence to support its finding, that the owner 'without making substantial structural changes of any sort, without adding any bathrooms, filing any plans with the Department of Housing and Buildings, or obtaining a certificate of occupancy--promptly converted the building into an eight-family rooming house'. It was rented to foreign language-speaking families, each occupying what was originally one room, at rents of over $110 per month.
There is no question but that the landlord erected a number of partitions, installed some additional sanitary facilities, and otherwise adapted the premises for their new use as a habitation for eight families in what had been an eight-room house. But there was no structural alteration, general renovation, or reconstruction. The result was hardly ...