NYC HPD shows that 787 Eighth / 300-304 W 48th is an SRO and from the C/O [pdf] dated 1942 it has been that way since WW2 (and at that time it was shown to be a 4-story building, rather then a the 5-story structure it is now -- an Application for a Vertical Enlargement was DISAPPROVED in 1997 -- which Disapproval the owner seems to have ignored). The building currently has 72 Housing violations. They range from illegal wiring, to broken lock cylinders, to improper conversion (possibly the illegal addition of the top floor). Basically the whole gamut of the types of things one sees in a building where the LL would just as soon run the residents out through deferred maintenance and illegal actions rather than keep the building up to snuff as is required by law.
DOF records show by a DEED that the property last changed hands in 1982, and for the past 27 years had been owned by "300 W. 48TH ST. ASSOC." and is run by either a couple of brothers or a father / son (at least the lead officers shown at HPD have the same last names). Clearly the building was an SRO when the current owner bought it.
Could it be that these guys would prefer to flout the law in the hope of clearing the building? Should they be termed "Landlord Scum" as some might refer to those who choose to act in this manner?
A real problem in NYC is that such behavior is not properly punished. And that such people are even allowed to maintain ownership of a building that is intended to house the citizens of NYC.