Last Wednesday the NYC Loft Board published the final rules governing buildings covered by the Loft Law. These rules affect tenants covered under the 2010 expansion and 2013 amendment, as well as those covered under the original law. (Changes are minimal for “old Loft Law” buildings, except for the reduction in the milestone increases.)
With the rules published, the six-month clock has started ticking for tenants and landlords to apply for Loft Law coverage. The final deadline is March 11, 2014! If a unit is not registered by that time it may not be eligible for coverage. However, since coverage goes with the unit, it will still be possible for landlords to amend their registrations to reflect new tenants, or for tenants to apply to become the protected occupants of covered units, after that date.
Tenants can empower themselves by familiarizing themselves with the rules and the timetable which applies to their building.
Check the Loft Board announcement for the compliance deadlines for your building, which depend on which law, 281(1) through (5) or 281(5) 2013, covers your building.
12 of the 15 amended rules can be found on the NYC RULES site (filter by NYCLB). For Rules 2-01, 2-03, and 2-08, the best source for the rule amendments seems to be the August 12 edition of the City Record.
The deadline for applying for Loft Law coverage is March 11. How do help loft tenants all around the city to make an informed decision?
NYCLT will host a round table community strategy session Wednesday, September 4th at 7:30pm, at Crown Vic, 60 S. 2nd St., Williamsburg (L train to Bedford Ave) – look for us in the backyard. Continue reading
Last month we had a strong showing at the final Loft Board rules hearing from tenants who were concerned about the implementation of Incompatible Use and landlord abuse of the Narrative Statement Process.
It’s no secret that the Incompatible Use provisions of the 2010 Loft Law, originally intended to protect manufacturing, are sometimes used by building owners who want to keep their buildings residential but don’t want to grant their tenants Loft Law protections. Just contesting an application on the basis of Incompatible Use puts up a huge roadblock, and sometimes drives tenants out even though there is no actual danger.
One unfair and strange consequence of the way the rule was implemented in 2011 is that the burden of proof is put on tenants to prove that there is not a dangerous condition. Aside from the difficulty of proving a negative, this also puts a tremendous expense on the tenant – often reaching into tens of thousands of dollars in legal and engineering costs – just to counter a problem the owner claims but hasn’t proved. Continue reading
No one knows loft buildings better than the tenants who live there. Often tenants did most of the work to convert an empty warehouse or factory into living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. So when it comes time to make the building safe, it’s essential to have the tenants’ input.
That’s a large part of why the Narrative Statement Process was created. Rule 2-01 is very well thought out and fair. However, many loft landlords are flouting the process and trying to escape the tenant oversight that is at the heart of the rule. Don’t let them! Continue reading
Last summer NYC Loft Tenants participated in the hearing on Rule 2-12 to ask that the Loft Board make milestone rent increases transparent. This way tenants would know when a rent increase is legal and wouldn’t be at risk of retroactive increases. This remains a serious issue and we urge the Loft Board to consider our renewed request.
NYCLT offers a biweekly free and public Housing Clinic to help educate and empower tenants during the application and legalization process. We are frequently asked to help tenants understand what their legal rent is and where their building is in the process. We continually hear stories about landlords, under the new law, asking for rent increases which may or may not be based on milestones achieved. It is generally not easy to determine a building’s milestone by looking on BIS, because most buildings under the new law have had numerous earlier attempts at legalization and it is not clear which permits are valid. We are also seeing an increasing number of landlords under the old law suing their tenants for 10 to 15 years of retroactive rent increases which the landlord somehow forgot to ask for previously. Continue reading
Final Rules Teach-In
this Wednesday, May 1st, 7pm – 9pm
with Chuck DeLaney and Bill Hall
Last Monday, the Loft Board published six rules for public comment. The hearing will be 1pm May 16th at 22 Reade St.
You can read the changes to the rules on the Loft Board site. (Scroll down to “Recent News”.)
Are you concerned about how you’ll know whether your building is in compliance, Incompatible Use, or how increases get applied?
Want to understand the Loft Law but find reading legalese confusing? Bureaucratic process too tedious to comprehend? Be an educated tenant, be empowered!
Come to a Loft Law Reading Group! Continue reading