Under a sweeping law passed by the State Legislature, hundreds of former factory buildings and warehouses across New York City, like the one Mr. Kronberg lives in, can become legal residential lofts. It is the first expansion of the loft laws in more than two decades and extends the classic Cinderella renter’s story far beyond Lower Manhattan, where most of the city’s legal lofts had been concentrated, into latter-day SoHos like Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Bushwick; and Long Island City, Queens.
The new law, which was passed last month after initial objections from City Hall, will force landlords to make upgrades to their buildings. It will make formerly illegal lofts eligible for rent stabilization and protect the tenants against evictions. And it will make rental royalty out of those prescient people who moved into illegal lofts in the former frontier and now-chic neighborhoods. They will be able to stay in their sizable, often inexpensive apartments for as long as they want, legally.