(Source: New York Post)
By Roos Döll
On 3 March, Sebastian Bear-McClard, a millionaire movie producer and husband of model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, has been allegedly exploiting a legal loophole to be able to live rent-free in one of the most expensive cities in the world – New York.
The couple lived in a 1,100 square feet apartment in Greenwich Village since 2013 until late 2017 when their lease expired. The apartment originally costs $4,900 per month, however, according to Antoni Ghosh, their leaseholder in Manhattan Civil Court, Bear-McClard has not paid rent since 2013 due to a legal loophole that he found within their apartment contract.
The couple found a loophole in the Loft Law, enacted in 1982, which ensures to protect low-income families and struggling artists to not get evicted from their apartment lofts even though they are living illegally in commercial loft spaces (as they don’t pay rent).
Ghosh is in the process of evicting the couple, however, the Loft Law specifically states that landlords are only allowed to evict residents if they have a certificate that states the apartment has safety hazards. Unfortunately, Ghosh does not have a certificate since there are no problems with the apartment loft.
Currently, McClard owes approximately $120,000 for rent since he took advantage of the loophole for 3 years.
Residents who live near their home expressed their hatred towards the couple. Joseph Vera, sixty-two-year-old musician stated, “he is an insult to our street… he has a lot of money and could easily pay the rent but chooses not to. I hope he gets evicted and someone more commendable gets the apartment instead.”
The couple’s combined net worth is around $20 million which violates the legal loophole, yet, according to Michael Kozek, McClard’s attorney, he is working hard to keep his home. He believes he did not do anything wrong as he is an artist and did struggle to find a home that he could afford (before becoming very successful).