Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th Assembly District Manhattan, and Senator Julia Salazar, 18th Senate District Brooklyn, announced today the passage of legislation A.7667 / S.6950 in both legislative houses, including unanimous Assembly passage earlier this week. This bill adds clarity to the loft law that will ensure loft tenants are guaranteed the right to a habitable living space and access to essential services.
The original loft law was enacted in 1982 to offer a path to legalize illegal housing units in old commercial and factory buildings. By offering a path to legalization, landlords could bring their units into compliance with all necessary residential safety codes and tenants could stop living secretly in unregulated conditions and begin receiving tenant protections. Unfortunately, the current law has been interpreted by some courts in a way to prohibit loft tenants from bringing negligent landlords to court when essential services have been denied, or the habitability of their home has been compromised once they are formally covered by the loft law.
Assemblymember Glick said, “Living in a habitable environment and being provided essential services are universal housing rights that every tenant must be afforded. This legislation ensures that loft tenants are treated no differently than other tenants and have the right to fight in court for redress against landlords who are not providing the bare minimum to their renters. As the sponsor of several loft law improvement bills over the years, I am pleased that the Assembly has once again supported loft tenants by passing this legislation, and I thank Senator Salazar for bringing this bill before the Senate.”
Senator Salazar said, "Loft tenants deserve the same protections to safe and habitable housing as other tenants. Issues relating to repairs and habitability ought to be heard in Housing Court, not by the Loft Board which is not equipped to resolve such questions. When the loft law was renewed and enhanced in 2019 the intent was to provide protections and a fair process for loft tenants. I am so pleased this legislation was brought to our attention by Assemblymember Glick and was honored to again partner with her to establish protections for loft tenants."
Assemblywoman Maritza Davila said, “I'm very proud to have worked with loft tenants to allow them to achieve the same rights as other tenants, specifically the right to go to housing court when a landlord denies essential services such as heat, water or electricity.”
Assemblymember Emily Gallagher said, "Our neighbors who live in lofts deserve the same right to a habitable living space as any other tenant in our city – including the ability to hold landlords accountable when basic serves are denied. In my North Brooklyn district, we've seen building owners refuse to fix leaky roofs, provide reliable heat and hot water, and even pressure tenants to leave when they think they can make a bigger profit. I'm grateful to Assemblymember Glick and Senator Salazar for their leadership, and to all my Assembly colleagues for passing this important legislation."
The legislation will now be sent to Governor Cuomo for his approval.