Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th Assembly District Manhattan, announced today the signing into law of legislation A.7667 / S.6950 (Glick / Salazar). 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 through housing courts.
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, “It was disappointing to have the courts misread the loft statute. This bill will ensure that all tenants, including loft tenants, have access to housing court in relation to a lack of essential services. This measure clarifies that housing court, not the loft board, is the appropriate venue when loft tenants are seeking redress for housing services issues. Clarifying this access is even more critical as the City Administration’s zoning changes erode previous protections. While the City has referred to state housing regulations, this measure will ensure legal recourse for loft tenants.”
Chuck Delaney, Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants said, "Assemblymember Glick's effort to have this bill considered late in the session after this problem came to our attention means loft tenants will have equal access to the essential protections every tenants should have."
Michael McKee, Treasurer of Tenants Political Action Committee said, “Loft landlords are notorious for denying essential services such as heat and hot water to their tenants. Some loft tenants have gone without heat for two years or longer. Denying these tenants redress in Housing Court is a fundamental injustice that this bill corrects. All tenants deserve the remedy of seeking enforcement of legal standards in Housing Court. We thank Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Senator Julia Salazar for this necessary legislation.”