Would it be worth having no hot water or gas to cook with for a year and a half, if it meant you could withhold rent for six years? It was worth it for one Brooklyn woman, who has been justified in not paying rent on her loft because her landlord didn’t keep up with basic maintenance or address her safety concerns.
According to the city’s 1982 Loft Law, former commercial buildings could be rented to residential tenants if safety issues were met, reports CBS 2 in New York. But the 60-year-old woman who has been living in her place in a converted manufacturing building since 1984 says that’s just it — her landlord hasn’t been cutting it.
Six years ago she started withholding her rent of less than $600 a month, because she claims there was a lot wrong with the building, including rotting wooden pillars int he basement and a gas leak that wasn’t fixed, just cut off.
“We didn’t have gas for about a year-and-a-half,” she said. “That meant I couldn’t cook,” adding that she also had no hot water.
The landlord kept trying to evict her, and finally she was ordered by the court to pay 2.5 years rent. But now the state’s highest court said because the landlord missed deadlines for building improvement, there’s no eviction and no back rent can be collected.
The woman will keep the roughly $35,000 in back rent she’s set aside, half of which will go to pay her lawyer.
Woman Lives In Spacious Brooklyn Loft Rent-Free For Past Six Years [CBS 2 New York]