Brokers fret Soho loft law

July 09, 2007 12:00AM

Enforcement of an obscure zoning provision requiring artists to live in Soho lofts may be on the rise, according to some real estate lawyers and brokers. Since the neighborhood was zoned for “joint living-working” spaces in 1977, at least one resident in most Soho lofts must be certified by the city as an artist-in-residence (AIR) engaged in the “fine arts” and in need of a large work space. Traders, lawyers and other non-artists got around the law by signing so-called “Soho letters” acknowledging their need to show AIR documentation if they were asked — which they rarely were. Some brokers worry that co-ops being brought up to code or converted are attracting more attention from the Department of Buildings, which can issue AIR-related building violations. “The law has not changed, nor has our enforcement of the law,” said a DOB spokesperson. more [New York]

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