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Does the NY Loft Law Expansion Take Tenant Protection Too Far?

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The Loft Law was originally proposed in the 1980s to protect aspiring artists from getting evicted from their apartments when the area started to become more and more popular. Photo Credit: NAG-Brooklyn

At the end of June, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a legislation that furthers the states Loft Law. The Loft Law was originally proposed in the 1980s to protect aspiring artists from getting evicted from their apartments when the area started to become more and more popular. This is not the first bill passed that would help protect tenants in New York, as multiple bills were passed by the legislative body of the U.S., that, for the first time in ten years, is fully run by Democrats. The main highlights of the law are in favor of the tenants. First, the law allows a landlord to transform his building into a residential one if tenets were already living in the manufacturing facility illegally.

This allows the tenants to gain a place to live without running into trouble with the government. In addition, the law forces landlords to keep their buildings or houses in tip top shape, as tenants are legally allowed to hold off on rent payments if their living quarters aren’t up to code.

According to a Crain’s New York Business article, “Landlords say the law has in the past allowed tenants to drag out renovations by blocking access, which they say allows them to continue living rent-free.” This bill is clearly in favor of the tenant and this has led to a lot of backlash from landlords and property owners. The Law even led to a whole new market for Loft Law Lawyers. The Crain’s article also states that people fear that the Loft Law will create difficulty when it comes to manufacturing jobs in the northern part of Brooklyn. As more and more manufacturing facilities were given residential status, more and more jobs were lost.

According to another Crain’s article, 300 buildings were transformed into residential facilities in 2010, and Jason Frosch, an attorney who has helped many landlords get out of difficult situations that were created by the law, says, “There’s no reason to believe it’s not the same quantity of properties [as in the 2010 law] that would be covered here,” In conclusion, the Loft Law protects illegal tenants, it makes it easy for residents to dodge their renting requirement, and it will potentially hurt job rates in New York. All in all, one can see why there is so much backlash to the expansion of the Loft Law that was recently approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

(Ezra Ashkenazi is currently an intern in the Jewish Voice Student Journalist Initiative)

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