2015 Successes in Albany!

On June 26, 2015 Governor Cuomo signed a massive housing bill into law, Chapter 20 of the Laws of 2015, which includes two important provisions for the loft tenant community.

Section 21 of that law reopens the Loft Law application process for two years (effective June 26, 2015 through June 26, 2017) which gives tenants and landlords the opportunity to submit new applications for coverage with the NYC Loft Board. This was the culmination of over a year’s worth of volunteer’s efforts to educate tenants who missed the original deadline and activate politicians, helping them see the urgent need for tenants and landlords to have an opportunity to bring more buildings into fire and safety compliance, and create new affordable, middle-income, live/work housing for NYC.

Chapter 20 of the Laws of 2015 also extends the provisions in the 2013 Clean Up Bill for four years (until 2019), keeping new rent milestones at the current 3-3-4% rate, and the minimum square footage requirement at 400, amongst other things. Volunteers traveled to Albany in 2013 and succeeded to make representatives understand that loft tenants are already paying market or above-market rent rates, the rent milestone increases from the 1981 version of the Loft Law would quickly price out tenants coming into the system in 2010. It’s vital that the milestone rent increases do not price out these stakeholders during the legalization process. Tenants are the best resource for keeping buildings moving through the code-compliance process.

We’re thankful to all our friends in the Senate, Assembly and City Council who helped us succeed this year. Considering the difficult legislative fight for city-wide rent stabilized tenant’s rights this is a big win for loft tenants. We’re extremely appreciative of the dedication and support our sponsors brought to the floor, making sure the issues of our community were not overlooked during the final hours of negotiations. Their commitment to loft tenants made all the difference.

We also owe each other a big thank you for making phone calls, going to meetings, traveling to Albany and sharing info. Everything helped. Anti-tenant lobbying groups were able to prevent many changes from being made. The fight will continue. Because of the difficult pro-landlord attitude in the Senate and Governor’s office we were unable to make any changes to Bloomberg’s 2010 coverage exclusions (windows, basements, IU or IBZs) which continue to arbitrarily exclude units and tenant who would have qualified under the original language of the Loft Law. These exclusions have proven to be a public policy failure, we will continue to push for their removal and try to help those buildings currently struggling with these issues.

Finally, a big shout out to our friends Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants and DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, whose collaborative efforts helped to get our shared goals heard in Albany, thank you!