Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez today announced that the governor has signed into law legislation that will make New York City's Loft Law permanent, guaranteeing loft tenants protection from unfair evictions and unsafe buildings (Chapter 135).
"For years, I have been fighting to safeguard tenants of loft buildings by making sure landlords cannot force them out or create unsafe living conditions," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "I am extremely proud that we have now made our Loft Law permanent. Many of these tenants are artists who have invested their time and money into refurbishing loft buildings for living and work space. They bring a vibrant, creative spirit to our community and with the permanent protections offered by this bill, we know they will thrive."
"As an advocate for this essential legislation for nearly 20 years, I am proud that this expanded Loft Law has finally been signed into law," said Lopez (D-Brooklyn). "I am so pleased that loft tenants throughout New York City finally have the peace of mind and protections that they deserve. As loft tenants have greatly enriched our community by bringing arts and new industry to communities, to pass legislation that provides these tenants both rent regulation and the ability to continue to work freely in their residences is a significant victory in all respects."
"The art community is integral to our city's culture, and this new law will help to protect artists, and other individuals, living in Manhattan lofts," said Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan). "The rapid growth of these alternative living spaces has made expanding and extending the Loft Law an absolute necessity."
The bill would extend the law to buildings where families have lived in separate units for one year or longer between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, and would require owners to comply with fire and safety codes and obtain a residential certificate of occupancy.
It would prohibit owners who have rented commercial spaces for residential purposes from interrupting or discontinuing any services provided to tenants, such as electricity and water, and require the restoration of any services interrupted or discontinued for as long as tenants are living there.
A chapter amendment to the new law will increase the maximum penalties on landlords who fail to comply with the orders of the Loft Board from $1,000 to $17,500. The measure also will clarify which units are included in the protections. The amendment, which has been agreed to by the Assembly, Senate and Executive, is expected to be acted upon later this week.