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An amendment to the Loft Law, a little-known piece of New York City tenants’ rights legislation, has become the center of a heated argument over affordable housing in north Brooklyn. The law requires landlords to bring their covered manufacturing, commercial, and warehouse buildings up to residential fire, health, and safety code standards. It also protects eligible residential tenants in those buildings from eviction and rent hikes. The amendment would expand the number of tenants eligible for Loft Law protection.
Recently, State Senator and Democratic socialist Julia Salazar — who has distinguished herself as a voice in the fight for universal rent control — turned against the law despite its record of providing stability for low-income tenants. Salazar and her staff claim that the law aids gentrification and undermines the livelihoods of people of color, who have already been deeply affected by gentrification in…
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