Landlord group seeks more control over Loft Law conversions

Community for Improving Residential Conversions of Lofts wants more deference

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

A group of landlords wants more control over how the Loft Law is applied in the city, adding to the chorus of officials and tenants groups who also want to tweak the legislation.

The NYC Community for Improving Residential Conversions of Lofts has drafted legislation calling for a change to the law that would allow owners to collect rent from tenants while converting illegal lofts into complying residences, Crain’s reported. They also want to be able to drop a unit from benefiting from the Loft Law if a tenant fails to pay rent.

The reason, landlords argue, is that some tenants purposely delay conversion of the units in order to stop paying rent. The current law permits tenants to stop paying rent if the conversion is delayed.

“Tenant protections are important and already crafted into the existing legislation,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Owners must also be protected from tenants who are exploiting the Loft Law in order to live rent-free.”

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The Loft Law was first enacted in the 1980s to require owners of certain industrial buildings in Manhattan that were illegally occupied by artists to bring the properties up to code and enter them into rent regulation. The law now applies to parts of Brooklyn and Queens and has impacted more than 1,000 buildings in the city.

Meanwhile, other draft legislation calls for an expansion of what type of units can be covered by the law.

“The loft board gives great latitude to loft owners who are in the process and who are clearly working toward legalization, as opposed to those who use what I might refer to as loopholes to delay legalization,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick.

Back in October, Mayor Bill de Blasio also promised to push for “big changes” to the state Loft Law. But only 11 days remain on the legislative calendar this session, so it seems unlikely that any changes will be made before then. [Crain’s] — Kathryn Brenzel