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Actress and Filmmaker Sued by Landlord Over Loft Law

Posted by Melvin Monachan | May 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

According to reports, actress Emily Ratajkowski and her filmmaker husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard, have been sued by their New York City landlord for $120,000 in unpaid rent. The landlord's lawsuit claims that the couple has exploited New York's Loft Law allowing them to live rent-free in the 1,100 square foot NoHo loft apartment on Bleeker Street. The couple has allegedly not paid the $4,900 monthly rent since the expiration of their lease in 2017. According to reports, Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard have an estimated combined net worth of $18 million.     

What is New York's Loft Law?

The New York City Loft Law, enacted in 1982 by the New York State Legislature and administered by the New York City Loft Board, applies to landlords and their tenants living in former manufacturing, commercial, or warehouse buildings where the building owner does not have a residential certificate of occupancy. The building where Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard live does not have a residential certificate of occupancy.

The purpose of the Loft Law is to protect tenants living in qualifying buildings.

  • Ensures that building owners and landlords bring loft apartments into compliance with fire and safety code requirements.
  • Prevents tenants from being evicted for illegal residency because they live in a building without a residential certificate of occupancy.
  • Prevents tenants from being evicted for the non-payment of rent.
  • Provides life-long rent stabilization benefits that survive transfers in building ownership.
  • Allows tenants to pass the rights and protections granted under the loft law to a succeeding family member.
  • Gives tenants the option to sell the rights and protections of the loft law back to their landlord for an agreed-upon amount.

In 2013, the Loft Law was made permanent and amended to include hefty fines for landlord violations. Both building owners and tenants living in loft apartments can apply to be covered by the Loft Law. Building owners can register their building with the New York City Loft Board, and tenants can file a coverage application online.  

The lawsuit filed against Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard claims that the Loft Law was only intended to protect low-income tenants and artists, not multi-millionaire Hollywood actors. Bear-McClard's attorney allegedly claims that Bear-McClard's is an artist and a born and raised New Yorker. When the law was enacted, it was common for artists to want to live and work out of these loft apartments because the open, expansive space offered plenty of room for painting, sculpting, and creating. According to the report, the loft at issue was the previous home and studio of famous oil painter Joanne Corneau.

Contact New York Real Estate Lawyer Melvin Monachan

If you are a landlord or a tenant with questions about your rights regarding New York City's Loft Law, the Law Offices of Melvin Monachan, PLLC can help. Attorney Melvin Monachan is an experienced real estate attorney and has successfully worked with both landlord and tenants for years, providing personalized services at an affordable price. Contact us for help with your Loft Law case today.   

About the Author

Melvin Monachan

Melvin Monachan is the founder of The Law Office of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, a full service, real estate law firm representing individuals, investors and corporate entities in all aspects of real estate law. On the transactional side, Melvin represents purchasers and...


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