A Brooklyn artist does not have to pay 9 years worth of rent-- roughly $60,000-- a New York court ruled Thursday, because the landlord did not bring her loft apartment up to residential standards, nor receive an extension from the city's Loft Board to comply.
Additionally, the court ruled Margaret Maugenest can't be evicted from her Gowanus pad.
The building owners, Chazon L.L.C., sued Maugenest in 2008 for nonpayment of rent, and twice won the case in court. The New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Maugenest Thursday, however, citing the 1982 Loft Law, which "protects tenants living in illegally converted industrial buildings," may of them old factories, as long as landlords bring the buildings up to code.
The Law's reach was expanded in 2010 to account for a resurgence in converted loft spaces, mostly in Brooklyn.
"In the absence of compliance, the law’s command is quite clear,” wrote Judge Robert S. Smith Thursday, according to The New York Times.
The judge's ruling is a win for loft tenants in New York, many of them artists in Brooklyn. The Court noted that approximately a third of the 900 buildings listed 30 years ago under the Loft Law's jurisdiction, still have "interim" status, The Associated Press reports.
In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg came out against the expansion of the Loft Law, arguing that it "would hurt our economy by driving manufacturers out of New York City."