The Real Deal New York

Loft Law applications up by more than a third

But attorneys say many tenants were unaware of March 11 deadline for requesting protection
May 23, 2014 02:30PM

In the first three months of 2014, 122 people applied for Loft Law protection — 34 more than during the same period in 2013, when 88 people applied.

It’s hard to tell, though, how many loft residents did not apply for protection, as the units are illegally occupied, the New York Observer reported. The Department of Buildings doesn’t have an estimate of the total number of lofts that are being used as residences. Landlords and tenants were eligible to apply for coverage under the Loft Law until March 11. But many tenants’ advocates claim the deadline wasn’t publicized. Others say some tenants were simply afraid to apply.

“I have encountered at least four buildings, one with at least 20 units, that missed the deadline,” tenants’ rights attorney David Frazer told the Observer. “Some just didn’t know about it, others had consulted with me months or years earlier, but didn’t apply in time.”

When the Loft Law passed in 1982, it was intended to help legalize units in lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs that were illegally converted in old warehouses and factories. In 2012, a new Loft Law was signed after a number of similar lofts popped up in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Long Island City. The law works retro actively: tenants can only apply if they live in a loft  that had been illegal for at least 12 consecutive months between 2008 and 2009. Additionally, to qualify, three such units must exist in the building.

In 2010, 63 people applied for protection under the law, in 2011 there were 134 and in 2012, 69 people filed applicatoins with the DOB.

Landlords are typically not fond of the law, because it often means incurring costs for improvements on the apartment to get them up to code. [NYO] – Claire Moses