Rule 2-08 Testimony: Incompatible Use

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

Rule 2-01 Testimony: Narrative Statement Pitfalls

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

Rule 2-01 Testimony: Milestone Transparency

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