You can’t help the nagging feeling that something is wrong with your new digs. Maybe it’s the contant draft from the huge windows or the lead paint flakes dropping from the 15-foot ceiling. Welcome to loft living in Brooklyn, an unregulated jungle of non-residential zoning and tenant mistreatment. Before the 2010 Loft Law was passed, lofts existed in a legal grey area: Zoned for commercial use but filling up with residential units, where tenants had few avenues for demanding building improvements and little protection from arbitrary and illegal rent hikes or eviction.
The law is meant to protect loft tenants and bring commercial buildings up to residential code. If you’re a loft resident, you’ll get the opportunity to find out what the law really means to you on Tuesday night at a Panel on the State of the Loft Law in Bushwick. For instance, applying for coverage under the Loft Law allows landlords to raise the rent, but it also requires they bring buildings up to code while also giving tenants coverage under rent stabilization laws. And that’s what you can find out about at Tuesday’s meeting. (more…)