Wednesday, February 6, 2013

☞ DWELL: How Much for an SRO in Harlem?

Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings for sale can be tricky but buyers who know how to get around all the legal issues often are the first to take advantage of the lower cost.  Number 133 West 119th Street went up on the market back in March 2012 for the asking of $784K and sold within less than two months.  Public records reveal that the building closed higher at $830K so the buyer must have known what they were doing for such a fast transaction.

This building has the merits of being on an architectural significant block by the Mount Morris Park Historic District but first time buyers probably could not handle all legal issues that would be needed to get all of the certificates in place and to check up on all of the unpaid violations.  It now has been nine months since the sale and nothing apparently has happened as far as renovations are concerned.  Then again, the new owner might just be holding on to it as an investment property and possibly sell it at a later date.


  1. If this will be your primary residence, you can ask the tenants to leave, otherwise it can be a problem with holdout tenants.

  2. Ultimately the real issues are in renovating such a structure in the bureaucracy of NYC. There should be a specialized division of the Department of Buildings for smaller residential units as codes and policies that blanket the city and make things so complex are not relevant most of the time to houses that are primary residences. The mire of city requirements is exasperating.

  3. Converting an SRO to another occupancy class is like starting over and the final building must meet current building code standards, this usually means at the very least electrical, plumbing, asbestos abatement (if needed), the list goes on. On the plus side brownstones are massively built by modern standards and the structural elements are often sufficient for current code.