Why This Bill is Crucial

The Multiple Dwelling Law Amendment creates essential protection for NYC live/work tenants. Allows landlords and tenants to jointly brings buildings into compliance.

The intent of this bill is to regularize the large number of manufacturing buildings, or portions of buildings, which have been adapted by their tenants, mostly artists, at their own expense, to live/work (residential) purposes, and are de facto multiple dwellings. This law provides a means for landlords and tenants to jointly bring their buildings into compliance.

Most affected buildings are in formerly neglected and abandoned neighborhoods where artists put their skills and resourcefulness to work, converting empty and unused warehouse/manufacturing spaces to live/work spaces. Tenants entered their leases at market rates, and thus have both helped property owners and sustained communities around the city. Without their initiative, these buildings would be vacant, likely eventually abandoned, and the neighborhoods, instead of renewed and revitalized, would continue decaying and falling apart.

Now, in 2009, in times of great economic hardship, with foreclosures and unemployment at levels not seen for decades, do we really want to subject thousands of working and rent paying members of our communities to immediate eviction? Bill S5881 IS THE ONLY PROTECTION against that fate.

Passage of this Bill is extremely pressing as the courts have offered little security. Conflicting rulings by the First and Second Department Appellate Divisions will soon face resolution in the NYS Court of Appeals, and were this decision to favor the Brooklyn reading of the ETPA, thousands could face immediate eviction.

Thanks to the continued support of Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and all the co-sponsors of the bill, the law was passed in the Assembly on June 17, 2009.  And thanks to Senator Daniel Squadron, who introduced Bill S5881 to the Senate, and the co-sponsors, there is a realistic chance to for this critically important legislation.

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