In this case, David’s clients, a married couple and their adult niece, moved into the loft in 2007. They converted it to residential use at their own expense, spending many thousands of dollars. Although the niece continued to reside in the loft through the present, the couple moved to Maine where they purchased and operated a restaurant. It was, however, undisputed that they kept their property in the loft and returned often to stay for a few days at a time.
Judge Ingrid Addison held that, although the loft was no longer the couple’s primary residence, they were entitled to protected occupancy status. Judge Addison affirmed the long-standing rule that to be protected an occupant need not be a primary resident, but merely a resident. Note, however, that once found protected, a Loft Law tenant who does not occupy the loft as his or her primary residence may be subject to eviction.