It has always been one of the bedrock principles of the Loft Law that the law protects “occupants,” not just tenants. That is, if an individual could prove that they were in actual residential possession on the effective date of the law – June 21, 2010 for the 2010 amendments codified at Multiple Dwelling Law §281(5) – then he or she was protected under the law, whether they were a tenant, a subtenant, a roommate or other status. This has now changed.

In a series of three cases, including David’s case, Various Tenants of 357 Bowery, the Loft Board ruled that, if the tenant of record was in possession on the effective date, then any other occupants – including the tenant’s spouse or life partner – are not protected [though they may have succession rights if the tenant vacates]. As pointed out by Loft Board Tenant Represented Chuck Delaney in his dissent, this ruling upends twenty years or more or established Loft Board precedent.

Loft tenants and occupants with pending Loft Board coverage applications should consult their attorney about the possible impact of this holding on their cases.

January 30, 2015