So, the other day, an article about Emily and her wealthy husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard using an “obscure law” in their favor, it piqued my interest.
Essentially, tenants in New York’s hip, artsy neighborhoods like NoHo, enjoy the Loft Law. Simply put, the law says that rebrand don’t have to pay rent if the building lacks a certificate of occupancy.
Emily and Sebastian are being sued for past due rent, and being accused of “exploiting” the law. Here is exactly what the law says:
Generally speaking, a building that meets the following criteria will be subject to the Loft Law if:
1. There was a registration application or coverage application filed for the unit prior to March 11, 2014.
2. The building possesses no residential certificate of occupancy pursuant to §301 of the Multiple Dwelling Law;
3. The building was used in the past for manufacturing, commercial or warehousing purposes; and
4a. There were three or more residential tenants living in separate apartments in the building in the 20-month period between April 1, 1980, and December 1, 1981; or
4b. There were three or more residential tenants living in separate apartments in the building for a consecutive 12 month period between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.
Here’s the thing about laws…the “plain reading” of the law is the law. If the “plain reading” is unclear or if the law doesn’t really work for your argument, then lawyers talk about things like “drafters intent.” In this case, the law was originally enacted to protect struggling artists, but there is nothing in this law that puts any requirement on the tenant to be a “struggling artist.” (Side note- would love to see the legal definition of that.)
Where some people call EmRata “pathetic” and think this is a “loophole,” I call that the law. The coalition of loft owners can whine to the press, the fact remains, they lack a certificate of occupancy, which coincidentally is a highly-regulated certificate meant to protect tenants. I see the coalitions arguments falling flat.
Ah ha- that must be why my husband is so interested. She’s got big … brains.