Can Legal Action Be Taken for Nonpayment of Rent of a Dwelling Which Is Illegal ?

In Lee v. Gasoi, a loft respondent sought the dismissal of a holdover proceeding on the ground that the proceeding was barred by the Multiple Dwelling Law given that the occupancy was illegal and the commercial certificate of occupancy for the residential unit was de facto inaccurate. The court there held that Multiple Dwelling Law 302 (1) (b) was an improper ground for dismissal since that provision references nonpayment proceedings. Dismissing the proceeding on other grounds, the court directed the owner to offer the loft tenant a renewal lease and obtain a certificate of occupancy for the illegal loft apartment. (Lee v. Gasoi, 113 Misc 2d 760, supra.) Section 302 (1) (b) of the Multiple Dwelling Law provides, in pertinent part, that where a dwelling is occupied in violation of section 301, "no rent shall be recovered by the owner of such premises ... and no action or special proceeding shall be maintained ... for possession of said premises for nonpayment of rent."