Success (and Failure)

Last night’s State of the Loft Law Panel was a big success – there at least 250 Loft Tenants in attendance (289 people signed in). It was exciting to see so many new faces and new buildings represented. Of course many of us had difficult questions for the Panel – it’s a complicated law and not every bit of it is fair to tenants.

At the same time we are also mourning the loss of 338 Berry, which should have been protected by the Loft Law but wasn’t, due to a lack of clarity over whether the Law supersedes stipulated agreements. Now our own founding member David Opdyke and his family are going to have to look for a new home, along with 9 other families. We sure will miss him, Andrea, Cathy, and the rest, at NYCLT.

This only shows why we need the Loft Law more than ever: without it, we’d all be in the same situation, sooner or later. The Law has its flaws, but it’s our best hope for staying in the communities we have built.

Loft Board Oversight Hearing

Members of the North Brooklyn Loft Tenants Association will express their dissatisfaction with the execution of the Loft Law at a City Council Oversight Hearing this Wednesday November 2 at 10am.

Representing approximately 15,000 loft tenants throughout Brooklyn, the association has stated that actions of the Loft Board are in conflict with the intent of the legislation, and have jeopardized the welfare of the very tenants it was designed to protect.

After an effort spanning eons of political time, through the tenures of numerous governors, mayors and other elected representatives, lawmakers acknowledged an outstanding housing shortage and the expanded Loft Law became New York State law on June 21, 2010.

In New York City, its execution became the duty of the 9 appointed members of the Loft Board, who have written many rules that are clearly detrimental to tenants.

Since the passage of the law, the Board has:

  • shifted the burden of serving notices of applications from the Loft Board to loft tenants
  • increased rent liability
  • minimized public participation in hearings
  • stifled conversation between the Board and the public
  • attempted to remove the tenants’ right to participate in the upgrade process
  • made no outreach to eligible loft tenants in the five boroughs
  • forced tenants to retain a lawyer and an architect just to apply

Thus has the board afforded more power and protection to the landlord through the execution of a law intended to empower and protect the tenant. In order to preserve the homes and communities we have worked long and hard to create, the NBLTA wishes to make the facts known to the voting public.

If our voices are to be ignored in City Hall, let them be heard in the streets. The Mayor and his appointees will not represent the interests of artists: musicians, writers, craftspeople, chefs and restauranteurs, actors, dancers, entrepreneurs, architects, designers, merchants, filmmakers, and the many other creative individuals who have built homes and communities out of the otherwise forgotten warehouses and factories throughout this incredible city.