Loft Law Renewed

The New York State Assembly and the state Senate passed a one-year extension of the Loft Law just prior to its May 31 sunset date. Unlike the last few years, the renewal was not automatic this spring.
The Loft Law was enacted in 1982 to protect the artists living in lower Manhattan in warehouses and factories. Having lived and worked in their lofts for a couple of decades, artists became victims of their own success and were getting forced out by rising real-estate values. The law, which was later expanded to cover some areas outside of Soho, requires that landlords bring their residential-occupied lofts into compliance with building-code standards. Once the certificate of occupancy is awarded, the owner can pass on the costs of legalizing the units to the tenants, and the lofts become rent-stabilized at the higher rent. The law protects about 10,000 tenants, and is administered by the city Loft Board.
This year, the Loft Law renewal process fell out of the usual pattern, when it was almost automatically renewed for one year by being bundled into the budget with the Quick Draw lottery authorization in order to ensure Republican support in the Senate. Thanks to a changed budget process under the new gubernatorial administration, the renewal had to be negotiated after the budget was passed, according to Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s (D-Manhattan) office.
Loft tenants are now safe until next May 31 and can look forward to the renewal process being smoother in future years. Glick has carried the renewal bill every year she has been in office and expects to continue doing so. But according to her office, amendments to strengthen the law, such as one exempting tenants who have lived in their loft for 20 years or more from owner’s-use evictions, were not accepted in the renewal negotiations.