Next, apply! You don’t need a lawyer to apply, but you will need one if your landlord challenges your application. Contact NYCLT for a list of recommended lawyers.
You can apply any time up until the expiration of the application period, which will be 6 months after the Loft Board finishes making all its rules. (updated after the 2nd NYC Loft Board application renewal period). At this point, it looks like that won’t happen before June 2013, so the deadline for applications would be sometime in December 2013. This happened September 11, 2013, so the final deadline was March 11, 2014.
- Get the application (or, the Amended Application if you’re adding on to your neighbors’ – the “nature of application” is TR in this case), instructions for Completing an Application, instructions for Filing an Application and the Answer Form. (all Loft Board application related docs are here)
- In the application, you must list each unit and its tenant. If you don’t know, write “Occupant.”
- You are required to serve a copy of your application and the answer form and instructions to all “affected parties”—that’s each tenant and subtenant in your building not seeking Loft Law coverage, including commercial tenants, plus your landlord.
- “Serving” the copies means getting a US Postal Service certificate of mailing for each copy you send to an affected party, proving that you sent your application to them. This is not the same as certified mail – the Loft Board won’t accept certified mail!
- You must include the following when you file your application with the Loft Board:
- the certificates of mailing
- a fee of $25/unit
- the Answer Instructions with a blank copy of the Answer Form (to show you know it exists)
Get more detailed instructions for serving and filing here. Read them!
When the Loft Board has checked your application, they will send a docket notice to the applicant.
- Affected parties: your landlord and every tenant and subtenant not applying for Loft Law coverage. If you know someone is in a space, but you can’t figure out who they are, still send your application to them as John Doe (or some other generic label).
- Application: The two pages of the application, plus any extra pages you need to list all the affected parties and your “basis for the claim”
- Basis for the claim: This is where you state that your building fulfills the requirements of the Loft Law. Say these things:
- Your building was previously used for commercial or industrial purposes.
- Your building does not have a Residential C of O.
- Your building has X number (3 or more!) of units that were occupied residentially for more than 12 months during the window period (Jan 1, 2008 – Dec 31, 2009). List those units, the tenants, and the dates that they have lived there.
- The Answer Form: labeled “Answer Form for Applications in Non-Enforcement Unit Proceedings,” it is on that same page on the Loft Board site here.
- The Instruction Sheet for the Answer Form: labeled “Download Instructions for Filing an Answer (in PDF)” on that same page.
So, in plain English…
- Figure out who is in your building and what kind of tenant everyone is, and who your landlord is. Get a mailing address for each of them.
- Fill out your application, make all those copies and send them to each affected party. You must get a “certificate of mailing” for each one (different from “certified mail” which requires that you wait for a receipt to come to you).
- File your application with the Loft Board. Get this out as quickly as possible if you think your landlord might give you a hard time for applying. There is a $25 fee for each tenant seeking coverage on the application.
- Get your docket number. This might require a few phone calls to the Loft Board if you feel some urgency: (212) 566-5663
An application can include as many tenant-applicants on it as you want. Making and serving one set of copies is a lot easier and cheaper, and you can share the work of collecting information, etc.