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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'
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
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.'
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