2017 Legislative Season Update and what’s next

Our substantial bill passed in the Assembly but did not come to a floor vote in the Senate. Legislative sessions are two years long, however, and so an active bill in June 2017 will be taken up again in January of 2018.  The bill (A8409 in the Assembly and S6828 in the Senate (read the details here)) covered a lot of ground benefitting the community and still has a very good chance of being signed into law as long as we keep up the pressure.

Between all the phone calls and visits to Albany and district offices around the city, NYCLT has made many new allies in the ranks of the state and city government.  We also ended up in productive negotiations with the administration of the city itself, over and above the support, we already had from several of the more sympathetic members of the City Council. We also found some sympathetic ears in Governor Cuomo’s office, and are hoping to be able to bring the weight of the state’s highest office to bear on this issue.

While we continue to build support for the bill in 2018 we have a few other efforts underway to protect tenants. We are drafting a sign-on letter from state representatives to Dept of Buildings Commissioner Chandler and the Loft Board, asking them to withhold final judgement on cases that would have a different outcome if S6828 passes (mostly people with coverage issues relating to windows, basements, or the application deadline – if you are one of those tenants contact us)

And, we are working with supportive City Council members to put pressure on the Mayor to address this issue.  The mayor actually has considerable power when it comes to the Loft Board that he has so far not exercised in any way, shape or form.

What you can do NOW to help

  • Before July 20th (the next Loft Board meeting): Call (212) 393-2616 and send a letter to the Loft Board requesting that they hold off on passing any judgments on coverage cases with window, basement, or use group exclusions while they revise the rules.
  • Attend the next Loft Board meeting on July 20th. Bring a sign requesting the same thing you asked for when you called and wrote.
  • Send personal letters to the Governor explaining why live-work spaces are vital to the city and how Governor Cuomo can make a difference at the end of his term (the Governor has the power to make it all happen at any moment!)
  • Vote YAY for the Senate Bill S6828.  Click here to vote!
  • Donate to support NYCLT Volunteers spent weeks in Albany, often needing to rent housing as well as pay for gas, tolls and food – please pitch in and support the ongoing efforts
  • Volunteer with NYCLT.  Contact us at nyclofttenants@gmail.com.  We’re looking for volunteers for several initiatives, including but not limited to:
    • Tenant outreach (get to know some loft tenants!)
    • Elected official outreach (get to know some politicians!)
    • Press and social media (write things; meet with journalists!)
    • Design (for our flyers, media postings, etc – make  us look cool!) Fundraising (money is unfortunately still really important!)
  • Forward this email to every neighbor in your building, and ask them to donate too. Everything helps.

Let’s keep up the fight!

Press: Artists May Lose Studio of 20-Plus Years Due to Loft Law Loophole

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A personal account of the harmful effects of “Bloomberg’s Exclusions”. The Loft Law is designed to bring buildings into code compliance by requiring landlords and tenants to draft plans together to solve problems but first units need to win coverage. Bloomberg’s arbitrary coverage restrictions prevent that possibility. It’s NYCLT’s position that, if denied coverage and tenants are evicted, landlords will continue to rent non-compliant spaces illegally. NYCLT wants Albany to remove the coverage exclusion, let issues of code compliance be fixed. Let live/work tenants keep their homes! Read the article here.

Excerpted from DNA: “We are the people who made the cultural fabric of New York. We are working artists who embrace a community. We’ve been doing our work, but at the same time we have created a community around our house, around our home,” Ximena Garnica, who moved into the CAVE at 58 Grand St. in 2004 and uses the studio as a rehearsal space for her dance company LEIMAY. said. 

The Loft Board cited the lack of external windows as their only objection to their application, while three other tenants in the building were recommended coverage, according to the order.

Despite the fact that this space currently has street-facing windows, and work could be done to increase the light/air ratio, the Bloomberg exclusions require tenants to provide proof of windows on June 21, 2010 (Photo courtesy Tenants of 58 Grand Street).

On May 18th the tenant community made a public stand in support of the CAVE, as the Loft Board voted on the recommendation from OATH about their coverage application. The tenants worried the board members wouldn’t spend enough time reviewing the details of the trial, which they believe overlooked important facts and confused testimony. (Photos courtesy Liza Béar)

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