Landlords take another hit: Cuomo signs expanded Loft Law

Buildings with residents who have lived in illegal lofts in 2015 and 2016 can now apply for loft status
July 05, 2019 10:00AM

Governor Andrew Cuomo and 538 Johnson Avenue in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Governor Andrew Cuomo and 538 Johnson Avenue in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

UPDATED, July 7, 12:50 p.m.: Tenants notched yet another victory at the end of June when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to expand protections for tenants living in industrial spaces.

The Loft Law, first enacted in 1982, required landlords of neglected properties in Lower Manhattan to bring their buildings up to code and convert them to regulated housing rather than kick out the artists who were already there when the surrounding area became desirable. Now, the law applies to industrial areas in Brooklyn and Queens, and affects landlords of more than 1,000 buildings, according to Crain’s.

While the loft law previously only covered tenants living in industrial lofts prior to 2009, now buildings with three or more families who lived in illegal lofts in 2015 and 2016 for 12 consecutive months can also apply for loft status. The legislation had previously failed under the Republican-controlled Senate.

Critics of the bill say the process to convert buildings into residential units is often stymied by the tenants themselves, allowing them to live rent-free. Other opponents of the new law say it endangers industrial zones in north Brooklyn and will encourage landlords to convert loft spaces and displace industry. Debate over the bill grew heated in February when Sen. Julia Salazar proposed an amendment to exclude parts of her district, coming in on the side of landlords and surprising many. But that amendment didn’t make it into the final legislation. [Crain’s] — Georgia Kromrei

Update: This story was updated to specify that Sen. Julia Salazar’s proposed amendment did not make it into the final legislation.