OATH Trial Judge Recommends Denial of Loft Law Protection to Separated Couple

Board found the two-family requirement was not met.  In 1983 Maria Nazor, an artist, leased the fourth floor of 544 West 27th Street in Chelsea for ten years from the owner. Nazor, with the owner’s consent, created two separate lofts each with their own kitchen, bathroom, and five independent studio spaces.  Nazor occupied 4N and rented unit 4S and the studios to various tenants and artists at a prorated rent.  Nazor married Peter Mickle, an unlicensed architect, in 1994. Following the marriage, Mickle moved into units 4S. Nazor and Mickle separated in 2004 with no formal separation agreement and both continued to occupy their respective lofts. In 2002 Mickle established his current business, Rational Building Company Inc., and listed 544 West 27th Street as the company’s address.

Sydney Sol Group purchased 544 West 27th Street in 1995. In 2003 and 2004 Sydney Sol Group Ltd. evicted the other residential tenants in the building, and in 2006 commenced eviction proceedings against Nazor. In 2009, Sydney Sol Group won a judgment of ejectment.

In March 2014 Nazor and Mickle filed their Loft Board application seeking protection. Sydney Sol Group argued that Nazor and Mickle did not meet the standards of the Loft Law which requires that the building be the residence of two or more families living independently from one another for a period of twelve consecutive months during the period commencing January 1, 2008, and ending December 31, 2009. Mickle claimed that he lived in unit 4S and denied conducting business at 544 West 27th Street. Mickle claimed that in late 2003 or early 2004, he moved his business to a one-bedroom apartment he rented at 55 West 14th Street, a residential building, but had no documentation showing that it was a business address.

After an OATH hearing the Administrative Law Judge found that Nazor and Mickle failed to show that two independent families resided at 544 West 27th Street for a period of twelve consecutive months. Nazor was the only residential occupant during the relevant period. Having failed to establish that two families were in residence, the Administrative Court recommended that the petition for protection under the Loft Law be denied.

Matter of Nazor, OATH Index No. 2570/14 (May 29, 2015).

By: Patrick Morris (Patrick is a student at New York Law School, class of 2016)

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