ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON HOUSING
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Originally passed in 1982, the Loft Law provides a mechanism for legalizing commercial lofts in New York City that had been converted in the early 1980s to residential or combined commercial and residential use. The law also provides these residential tenants with protections against arbitrary evictions and rent hikes. At the beginning of 2010, it was estimated that in Brooklyn alone, 10,000 people who lived in buildings zoned for commercial or manufacturing use were not protected by the existing Loft Law. With such a large number of tenants threatened with eviction, the Legislature passed the largest expansion of the Loft Law since the Law was initially enacted. The new law provides a process for those living in and owning buildings designated for nonresidential purposes to come into compliance with existing laws that govern the safety, operation and maintenance of residential and mixed-use dwellings. Many of the individuals living in these units do so because loft apartments can also provide work space. This allows many of these residents to pursue artistic and craft professions that they would be unable to afford if they had to pay for a studio or gallery in addition to their living expenses. This new statute directs the Loft Board to implement new rules and regulations to facilitate the inclusion of these tenants and to ensure that the tenants of lofts are afforded the same protections and safety standards as their fellow renters. The Loft Board has issued proposed regulations to implement the statute. This hearing seeks to evaluate whether such regulations will effectively achieve the objectives of the law.
Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
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Member of Assembly
Committee on Housing
What protections if any, exist to protect loft tenants from abuse after an application for coverage has been filed with the Loft Board?
In the past under the Loft Law, if a landlord took actions such as shutting off essential services while an application was pending, what recourse did tenants have to restore essential services?
In the period between filing an application for loft law coverage with the Loft Board and a final determination by the Loft Board, what city or state agencies have jurisdiction over problems that may arise? What solutions could be implemented by statute, regulation or other means to address the problems loft tenants are currently encountering?
The Loft Board has proposed regulations relating to, the compatibility of mixed uses in buildings, particularly those in Use Groups 15-18. What effect would the proposed regulations have on tenants and owners wishing to be covered by the loft law? Would an average tenant or owner be able to comply with the proposed rules and regulations? What standards should be used to determine the uses that may be incompatible with residential use?
Do other problems exist that would interfere with bringing units into compliance with the loft law, as intended by the recent expansion? If so, what are they?