On September 6, 2019, the Department of Buildings (DOB) announced new project guidelines of the Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) or Loft Law for the following 9 months, with the aim of providing stakeholders and designers with information regarding loft conversion. Certain lofts in manufacturing and commercial buildings have the opportunity to convert units in commercial or manufacturing districts or buildings into legal residential dwellings, which contributes positively to the safety of the dwelling, rights of the tenant and landlord, and the affordable housing problem.
Initially, the Loft Law was adopted by the New York State Legislature in 1982, when many buildings in industrial business zones became available, liveable areas. Landlords offered affordable houses for, among others, artists who could live and work in the same place. (Kully, 2019)
Article 7-C of the Loft Law added a new classification of buildings in NYC, which are called Interim Multiple Dwellings (IMD). When a building (or a part of the building) is determined as IMD by the New York City Loft Board, the owner needs to prepare the necessary documentation in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy. The Loft Law gives IMD owners the opportunity to convert into residencies and provides them with guidance to meet the minimum standards of the law.
Senator Julia Salazar mentioned the importance of the legal conversion of lofts issued by the NYC DOB. She invited all loft tenants living within for example North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) to take part in the 9-month application system, which will help tenants to convert their lofts into legal, rent-stabilized buildings. (NYC City Planning)