Here’s How Emily Ratajkowski Got Out of Paying Her $5k Rent

A real estate attorney weighs in.

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Emily Ratajkowski's husband, producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, has been living in their NYC apartment located in the neighborhood of Noho rent-free since 2017. Seriously. The pair holds a combined net worth of around $18 million, according to celebritynetworth.com, but they haven't paid their $5,000 rent for over a year.

The model married the millionaire a little over a year ago, and the pair has been presumably living together at the 49 Bleecker Street residence since then. Sebastian Bear-McClard, though, has been subletting the second floor of the former manufacturing building since 2013, according to the New York Post. He is currently allowed to live there rent-free under certain legal loopholes in NYC's 1982 Loft Law, which was initially meant to protect struggling artists and low-income tenants from being evicted.

This married couple just so happens to be the farthest thing from a low-income tenant. Their landlord claims that there are around $120,000 unpaid fees from the couple's second-floor loft, which is mere chump change for two millionaires.

“Here is a prime example, in prime NYC real estate, where an uber-wealthy celebrity couple and tenant can take advantage and exploit a law that was intended for truly struggling artists and low-income families in need of affordable housing,” said Carolyn Daly, spokeswoman for a coalition of loft building owners (including 49 Bleecker), to the New York Post.

The attorney for the owner of 49 Bleecker, partner Lisa Gallaudet of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP, explained to us exactly what the Loft Law is, and what loopholes they're trying to use to live rent-free.

"The Loft Law was enacted in 1982 to regulate the growing number of illegal conversions of commercial and manufacturing buildings to residential use and provide a pathway for the occupants of such units," Gallaudet tells Natipernavigare.

In 2010, the Loft Law was amended to permit an additional eligibility period and those units that didn't have a residential certificate but were being occupied during 2008 and 2009 could qualify as Interim Multiple Dwelling under the law.

So how exactly do two millionaires get away with using the Loft Law for their benefit?

"The Loft Law requires that loft tenants must pay rent to the owner during the legalization process, so long as the building owner is in compliance with the Code Compliance timetable set forth in the Loft Law," Gallaudet says. "These deadlines, however, have all passed and are impossible to meet. The tenants are aware that if the owner doesn’t meet the deadlines, they do not have to pay rent. Thus, the Loft Law is structured to incentivize tenants to delay the legalization process, placing a hardship on the owner."

The dwelling where Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard live is actually not protected under the 2010 amendment because it was the commercial residence of famous French Canadian painter Joanne Cornear, not residential. Sebastian Bear-McClard applied for coverage under the Loft Law in the spring of 2017 (the deadline for applications was June), knowing that if he had a pending loft law application, he could not be evicted.

"[Bear-McClard] is proceeding with a knowingly meritless claim because it takes years to litigate a claim and he has the money to pay his attorney—not only because he is worth millions—but he is also living rent free. His strategy is to remain in occupancy, rent free, until the law is amended. Yet, if it weren’t for his current meritless claim for coverage, he would not be in possession of the unit."

In the meantime, Em Rata's personal Instagram is currently being riddled with comments simply saying, "pay your rent."

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