The short answer: live in a loft covered by the 1982 Loft Law but owned by a landlord who fails to comply with that law. For the longer answer, let us turn to the case of artist Margaret Maugenest, who has prevailed in a case before the State Court of Appeals as of yesterday. Maugenest moved into 280 Nevins Street in 1984 and, according to the Times, stopped paying rent?which was under $600/month?in 2003.
Maugenest's landlord, an LLC, took her to court for nonpayment of rent in 2008, and initially the courts sided with the landlord. But the appeals court ruled that Maugenest's landlord hadn't met the deadlines for bringing the building up to code under the Loft Law and had failed to get an extension from the Loft Board, so Maugenest prevailed. Hey, he did have 30 years. (Maugenest saved the rent money anyway, just in case.) Maugenest's building is about one of 300 that have failed to receive residential certificates of occupancy since the passage of the 1982 law, which means this tactic might actually be repeatable. And, up to code or not, Maugenest's place?which Pardon Me for Asking visited last summer?doesn't look so bad.
· No Eviction for New York Renter Who Hasn't Paid for Nine Years [NYT]
· A Visit to Artist Margaret Maugenest's Gowanus Loft [PMFA]
· Rent Wars coverage [Curbed]