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.
Come on out to the Loft Board meeting 1pm this Thursday June 20 at 22 Reade St. in Manhattan, to see how the board decides on these vital issues:
- The burden of proof that a building contains an Incompatible Use is currently placed on the tenant. This is exceedingly difficult (especially because it involves proving a negative), and so landlords are often able to impel tenants to leave their loft protections behind just by threatening a challenge based on IU. The landlord should be required to prove there is an Incompatible Use.
- An Incompatible Use should be determined based on the actual use, not permits that haven’t been exercised.
- It is difficult for tenants to verify if a landlord’s rent request is legal, and whether a milestone has actually been met. The Loft Board should require landlords to provide proof as part of the process.
- Although the record of alteration applications and permits are online, it’s hard to tell which of them count for milestone increases if there were prior attempts at legalization. The Loft Board should issue guidelines for determining which ones count.
- The Narrative Statement Waiver form does not explain the process or tell tenants they are signing away their right to determine how their space is renovated. It enables landlords to lie about the process and the waiver. The form should describe the process and the rights being waived.
- Landlords are sending narrative statements that don’t specifically state the work to be performed, purposely or just cheaply devoid of details. These just end up corrected at the narrative statement conference, a waste of time and money for some, and misleading for others. The LB should issue guidelines for a specific and complete narrative statement.