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Home photo studio?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Home photo studio?

Postby Jaylic1 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:12 pm

Hello forum,

I'm wondering about the legality of running a small headshot photo studio out of my rent-stabilized apartment. I've got the standard tenant's lease and have searched the forum for an answer, but haven't quite found an answer that fits my specific circumstances. I think what separates my situation is that I need to have clients come to the apartment in order to photograph them. I can't imagine it'd be more than 2 guests at a time and run during normal business hours. I'm in a M1-1 zone and don't anticipate any extra noise/waste/or annoyances that'd come along with the venture.

Also, the building was sold last year to a new party, and i have virtually no relationship with the new landlord. A bit paranoid about inadvertently violating the terms of my lease and losing the place.

Thanks for any advice!
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Re: Home photo studio?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:04 pm

An overview of a M1-1 zoning district can be seen here.

However, I don't think that's the issue here. In previous posts we discussed work-at-home scenarios. In general NYC doesn't have a prohibition on working at home, but there are situations where the zoning might not allow certain activities, or the LL will complain that a tenant's activities are either a nuisance or a violation of a lease.

In more benign situations, you might see a tenant with a computer and a telephone. That activity does nothing to adversely impact the building or other tenants.

Things like putting up signs, having clients visit the premises, extra trash, noise and so on are examples of things a LL could object to. Worse is when it's an ongoing activity compared to a rare exception.

Your situation seems to fall in the middle, but the minute you have clients visit, you run a risk. If the LL or super goes along, then you might be OK. But you could have other tenants complain. Do you use too much electricity or water? Is noise (in the eyes of the neighbor) too much? What you think as there being no annoyances .... well, it doesn't matter what you think; it matters what others think.

The simple fact of having strangers in your hallways on an ongoing basis will create issues with other tenants. That is the main reason why tenants object to AirBNB rentals by other tenants.

Is it legal? That's hard to say. I'm not aware of any particular law or court decision. But there's a risk. I know only what you posted, but based on that, I would advise against it.
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