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