Illegal Lofts in New York City: Have the Equities Been Balanced
71 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2019
Date Written: 1986
In New York City today, tens of thousands of people, primarily tenants, are illegally occupying lofts. These tenants have signed commercial leases, often long-term leases at rents far below the current market rate. The changing economics of loft buildings has led to serious conflicts between landlords and tenants. Landlords have sought to evict tenants before their leases expire, refused to renew their leases or demanded higher rental rates upon renewal. Tenants have withheld rent for extended periods. These conflicts have been taken to the courts, and legislation recently enacted in New York State attempts to resolve these issues for at least some tenants and landlords. At the same time, New York City has been concerned about this tenant-landlord conflict, as well as the overall impact on the city’s economy of both legal and illegal conversions of loft buildings from manufacturing or commercial to residential use. The city has taken an active role in seeking statutory solutions to these problems, but it is yet unclear whether the city’s efforts have been successful.
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