We are extremely pleased to report that, after years and years of effort and commitment on the part of soon the part of so many, both legislators and advocates, the “Expanded Loft Law” (A5667C and A11567) was passed and signed into law June 21, just before the end of the legislative session.
We thank all those who have supported the bill, above all and especially, the bill’s author, Assemblymember Vito Lopez, an unrelenting advocate for the rights of loft tenants, and Senator Martin Malave Dilan, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, who accomplished what no other Senator has been able to for the past decade – to pass the bill in the Senate.
We are also extremely grateful for the support of Assemblymembers Glick, Gottfried, Lentol, and Silver, and Senators Squadron, Duane, and Kruger, as well as Shelley Mayer and Cecilia Tkaczyk of the Senate Majority Counsel’s office. If it were not for the efforts and commitment of all of them, there would be no Expanded Loft Law.
After the bill was passed by the Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg and others raised objections to some of its provisions. A compromise was reached between the Mayor’s office and the Legislature, and the Legislature agreed to pass an amendment which somewhat limits the scope of the the law, most specifically excluding some of the City’s “Industrial Business Zones” (IBZs) from the scope and protections of the law. This amendment passed just before the end of the session, and was signed into law July 1st.
If you are a loft tenant and concerned about how this law might affect you, please read the text of the bill http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A5667C and its amendment http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A11567. A list of the Industrial Business Zones can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/imb/html/ibz/ibz.shtml.
Please read the Amendment (Bill A11567C) carefully to determine which IBZ’s are not excluded from the protections of the Expanded Loft Law (if you live in one of those Zones, the provisions of the law apply to your loft), also, please note that “Industrial Ombudsmen Areas” are not excluded from coverage by the amended Loft Law.
Implementation of the law will be an ongoing process. i.e. “how can I obtain a residential Certificate of Occupancy for my live/work loft?”. Whether you are in end state litigation or just concerned about you status as a live/work loft tenant, please read the law and then consult an attorney. There are, as well, many resources to be found on the www. As we learn more about the practical application of the law, we will post updated information and links to other sites.
We still have much work to do to insure that all entitled tenants are protected and to expand the provisions of the law. We will continue to work with the Legislature to make improvements to the law as it now stands. In the meantime, once again, thank you Assemblymember Lopez, Senator Dilan and all who have contributed to making this bill law.
Hon. David Paterson
Governor of the State of New York
Albany, NY 12224
June 21, 2010
Dear Governor Paterson,
We have received a copy of a letter from Congressmembers Nadler and Velazquez and City Councilmembers Reyna and Lander requesting that you veto this bill, and we submit below our formal response to each of their points, most of which we believe to be either misrepresentations or misunderstandings of the facts of Live/Work Loft Tenant Occupancy and this bill.
- It is disgraceful and or disingenuous to characterize our occupancy as ‘illegal’. We all have entered into lease agreements with our landlords, mostly on a long term basis, with the support of the communities we have transformed, to live and work in our lofts. While it is correct to say that this occupancy is not compliant with regulations, it is manipulative to characterize it as ‘illegal’.
- This bill will not displace any manufacturing businesses, NOT enacting this bill will displace all the loft tenants who have contributed so greatly to the City.
- If unscrupulous people derive unintended benefits from the bill, is that reason enough to deny the City all the deserved benefits this bill will bring?
- Not only will the passage of this bill help sustain the arts and culture in New York City, it will also help to preserve and create jobs. According to the City Planner Elizabeth Currid, the arts is the fourth largest employer in New York City.
- This law does not allow or create grounds for residential development of any kind— it protects those live/work occupancies which already exist. Once again, the consequences of this bill failing to become law will be eviction and harassment of tenants who have brought stability to abandoned neighborhoods in New York.
Governor Paterson, we have been working on having this bill passed for 12 years, and it is long
overdue, any further delay will bring only one consequence—further hardship for an important
part of the community of New Yorkers.
We beg you to consider our plea and to remember our contributions to the City and our extreme
New York Live/Work Coalition
NEW YORK LIVE/WORK COALITION
Hon. David Paterson
Governor of the State of New York
Albany, NY 12224
June 21, 2010
Dear Governor Paterson,
We have received a copy of Mayor Bloomberg’s letter requesting that you veto this bill, and we submit below our formal response to each of the Mayor’s points, most of which we believe to be either misrepresentations or misunderstandings of the facts of Live/Work Loft Tenant Occupancy and this bill.
- It is correct that the exact number of buildings is not known, the location of these buildings, however, is known. The vast majority of buildings affected by this law are, in Manhattan, in the Garment District, Chelsea, Soho, Tribeca, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side; in Brook- lyn, in Sunset Park, Red Hook, Dumbo, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick; in Queens, in Hunters’ Point, Long Island City, and Astoria.
- This bill is not primarily intended to protect ‘residential encroachment’, it is intended to pro- tect, primarily, artists and artisans who live and work in these buildings. We occupy these buildings precisely because they afford the space to perform our work and ‘manufacture’ goods.
- We agree it is important that buildings which have a mixed residential/manufacturing occupancy be brought into compliance with safety and habitability codes — this is one of the purposes of this bill.
- Mayor Bloomberg’s assertion that this bill “would hurt our economy” is a grievous misrepresentation of reality. Additionally, the bill does not “prioritize residential occupancy over industrial use”.
- a. The bill does not in any way whatsoever restrict or infringe upon industrial development. It merely ratifies a status quo which has existed for decades—that when manufacturing buildings and neighborhoods are abandoned, artists who need those spaces and who resurrect those neighborhoods are entitled to a minimal level of protection.
- b. We welcome manufacturers or other industrial users as our neighbors. We do not wish to see these neighborhoods converted to residential districts, we wish them to remain exactly as they are, with a small contingent of artists and artisans who can put the spaces to good use together with more conventional manufacturing or industrial uses.
- c. The arts are a very serious contributor to the City’s economy and welfare.
- d. Once again, the bill would not “prevent the City from taking measures to preserve even small islands of industrial businesses”, this bill is meant to protect tenants who are al- ready, with the full cooperation and support of their communities, living and working in these buildings. Additionally, the vast majority of buildings which would be subject to this law do not fall within any of the City’s ‘Industrial Business Zones’, and if there were not live/work tenants as of the end of 2009, there never could be.
Governor Paterson, we have been working on having this bill passed for 12 years, and while there may be minor adjustments which would improve the bill, as there would be with any bill, these issues are not significant enough to delay the urgently needed and long awaited enactment of this law.
We beg you to consider our plea and to remember our contributions to the City and our extreme vulnerability.
Steering Committee New York Live/Work Coalition
SAVE THE LOFT LAW!!
Today, Monday June 21st, Governor Paterson will sign or veto bill S7178/A5667C – the Expanded Loft Law bill. It is of utmost URGENCY that all of us call the Governor today and express our support for this bill, how desperately it is needed and how long overdue it is.
The number to call is 518 474 8390.
The volume of calls will make a difference. The more people who call the better. Ask everyone you know to call and express support.
Thank you !!
– New York Live Work Coalition
Leave a message and refer to bill S7178 (senate) + A5667C (Assembly)
URGENT: SAVE THE LOFT LAW: Governor Paterson Needs to Hear Your Support of the New Loft Law: TODAY – Monday June 21st
Today, Monday June 21st at midnight is the deadline for the governor to sign S7178/A5667C – the Expanded Loft Law bill – into law.
Call Governor Paterson and express your support for this bill, how desperately it is needed and how long overdue it is TODAY.
The number to call is 518 474 8390
Legislation sponsored by Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (D-Brooklyn) passed in the Senate extending basic protections to those calling commercial loft space home.
S.7178A, amends the “Loft Law,” ensuring that residential lofts will be brought into compliance with laws regarding housing maintenance, health, safety and fire protection standards. This legislation marks the second time in 28 years that the legislature has extended loft tenant protections. Senator Dilan’s bill would make permanent loft tenant protections to buildings containing two or more units.
“Thousands of people living in the city call these lofts home. Many of these units have escaped most of the tenant protections offered to traditional rentals. This legislation will bring these properties up to code, protecting tenants and landlords’ investments,” said Senator Dilan.
S.7178A will extend Loft Law protections to approximately 300 buildings, or about 3600 additional units that were converted after 1987 for residential purposes. These units are primarily in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. This legislation protects tenants who lived in a loft for at least 12 consecutive months between the dates of January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.
The Loft Law was originally enacted in 1982 following an increase in the number of non-residential buildings that were being converted wholly or partially to residential use. These buildings all lacked compliance with laws governing zoning, housing maintenance, health, safety and fire protection standards applicable to residential occupants. Tenants were also subject to arbitrary evictions and unfair rent increases.
In 1987, the Loft Law was amended to cover additional buildings that had been occupied residentially by three or more families since passage of the 1982 law. About 900 buildings were registered upon passage of the original Loft Law. Of that group, approximately 600 buildings have been legalized for residential occupancy.
“Lofts offer a unique opportunity to convert defunct manufacturing space into livable, revenue generating space. Tenants who have moved into these older, vacant buildings, have sparked new life in what were at one time bustling commercial hubs. In doing so, they have rebuilt communities and in some instances built new ones,” said Senator Dilan.
Under the legislation, building owners have to file their rented loft space with the New York City Loft Board within nine months of the effective date of this legislation. To begin conversion from commercial to residential, they must obtain a work permit within a year of the effective date. They also have 18 months to comply with city fire and safety standards. Owners must also seek a certificate of occupancy for converted lofts within 36 months of the effective date.
The Loft Board can twice extend the compliance deadline for up to 12 months if an owner is unable to meet the requirements for reasons beyond his or her control.
This legislation is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez. The bill has passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s approval.