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Manhattan couple hasn't paid rent on their $4,754-per-month apartment in almost SEVEN years citing little-known 'Loft law'

Manhattan couple hasn't paid rent on their $4,754-per-month apartment in almost SEVEN

  • Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse live in a free apartment with their kids
  • The Chelsea flat should have costed them $4,754.02 per month
  • Their landlords say they now owe $410,000 or they have to move
  • The couple says they have a right to live in the apartment because of Loft Law 

A couple living in notoriously expensive Manhattan haven't worried about paying the rent on time for the past seven years - because they haven't been paying it at all.

Digital content producers Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have lived for free in their $4,754.02-per-month flat on West 26th Street since 2010.  

Back then, there were other residential units in the nine-story building, but now there are only businesses and art galleries.

Now, their landlord says it's time to pay out the $410,000 they owe or get out.

But they insist they are in their right to stay put, because of little-known legislation called 'Loft law'.  

No-fee apartment? Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have lived in a Chelsea apartment for free since June 2010. Their lawyer claims: 'They’re entitled to be there'

No-fee apartment? Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse have lived in a Chelsea apartment for free since June 2010. Their lawyer claims: 'They’re entitled to be there'

Landlord 513 West 26th Realty LLC filed the case in Manhattan Supreme Court saying the couple owes 80 months in rent and electric charges.

The New York Post reports the two live in Chelsea with their two children. Though the building is not up to code, their lawyer Margaret Sandercock claims: 'They’re entitled to be there.' 

Bennett and Nourse don't think they should have to pay because of Loft Law. 

Loft Law is designed to protect people living illegally in commercial or factory buildings.

The law was created to bring these buildings up to fire codes and to give rights and rent protection to the tenants. 

The couple said their family should be allowed to stay in the apartment because of Loft Law
Zachary Bennett and Karen Nourse's landlord says the goal is not to evict them, just to get them to pay what they owe

The couple said their family should be allowed to stay in the apartment because of Loft Law

The family lives in a building without a residential certificate of occupancy

The family lives in a building without a residential certificate of occupancy

New York State expanded Loft Law in 2010 when the couple was living month-to-month in the apartment. 

Sandercock said: 'For the building to be safe and legal for them to live in, the law requires the landlord to have a residential certificate of occupancy.' 

The lawyer representing 513 West 26th Realty LLC, Harry Shapiro, said: 'They can stay if they pay.

'The unit is legal... We really don’t want to evict them. We just want them to pay the rent. They’re getting all the services but the landlord got zippo.'  

WHAT IS LOFT LAW, AND DO YOU QUALIFY?

The Loft Law is legislation designed to protect tenants in New York City who are illegally living in commercial or factory buildings. 

It has two goals: to bring those buildings up to residential safety and fire codes, and to give rights and rent protection to the tenants who live there. 

Tenants can qualify if the property is in an Industrial Business Zone, does not have a residential certificate of occupancy - because it is primarily used for commercial purposes - or has at least three residential units.

If the unit is more than 400ft, is not a basement or cellar, and is not accessed through someone else's apartment, then it also falls under the law.

The property must also have at least one window.

Source: Loft Law 101 


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Comment by ESTHER THORNE on January 14, 2017 at 11:51am
I agree with you Racquel what a shame.
Comment by morgan on January 10, 2017 at 12:25pm
Leave to white people to always find the loopholes
Comment by Mervin E Yearwood on January 10, 2017 at 12:54am

Pimping the system 

Comment by raquel on January 9, 2017 at 10:33pm

Wow ,once again they are getting over..Am I the only one thinking, if the were a couple of shades darker they would of been homeless a long time ago .This would of been a different kind of story, no family photos, but mug shots..Just saying

Comment by Twigi Jazz on January 9, 2017 at 6:25pm
No shame to them shame to the landlord if they were a minority couple in the same financial situation and this csmento light they'd have been evicted by way of law enforcement. Not to just make it a race issue but in this case yes especially for that neighborhood. I don't feel for them I just think it's so messed up bcz there are ppl who would love to live in such a great area and can afford it but given a much harder time to be approved simply because of their race smfh @ NYC and it's unfair laws. The landlord should. It have let the nonpayment go on for such s long period of time
Comment by Carlos Louhisdon on January 9, 2017 at 5:44pm
I don't know why NYC landlord and tenant court is the way it is feeling because people who rents apartments are rich instead of just getting by. These people should have been evicted years ago why would anyone allow anyone to live in their building for so long without paying any rent. Shame on those people that think they are getting over because of the system but karma has a way of getting back at you if not you directly one of your childr3n will suffer for your miss deeds.
Comment by Cee Gee on January 9, 2017 at 3:53pm

Slick!  They knew how to get over!

Comment by Mervin E Yearwood on January 9, 2017 at 3:04pm

SQUATTERS !

Comment by The Future on January 9, 2017 at 2:43pm
Dirty low life bastards, they make these laws just because they know, white pieces of Sh.t live in them and will be able to use that law just for that purpose, low life bastards, always will be, the scum of the earth....And these scumbags found a lawyer to acually fight this garbage!
Comment by K. LeBlanc on January 9, 2017 at 2:39pm
"We really don’t want to evict them. We just want them to pay the rent" --- white privelage at its finest. They're probably taking into account that these people are "nice" with "2 children"....if they're were POC there would be NO questions asked before the boot. Smh. But they probably willfully stopped paying the rent once they knew the building was converting. Smh. Noy

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