Over the weekend, the New York Post reported that Emily Ratajkowski and her actor-producer-millionaire husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard, have been living rent-free in their New York City apartment, thanks to the Loft Law, which the Post describes as a “legal loophole meant to protect struggling artists.”
Bear-McClard, who began subletting the loft in 2013, apparently qualifies as one such “struggling artist,” though the building’s landlord is pissed off that he reportedly hasn’t paid any rent since the lease ended in 2017, and now owes about $120,000.
The Loft Law, enacted in 1982, was meant to keep landlords from evicting artists and other low-income residents who live illegally in commercial loft spaces, and it technically applies to the Bleecker Street building Bear-McClard inhabits. But since he’s apparently worth about $12 million, it’s understandable why people might be upset that he’s skipping out on rent.
And the landlord isn’t the only one who’s livid — the couple’s neighbors have also expressed their rage in comments to the Post. “It’s pathetic,” said a man who lives near their Bleecker Street home. “The idea that one of these wealthy individuals is exploiting the system to save what, for him, is chump change, is a kick in the ass to the people who made Bleecker Street what it is.”
Another artist who lives in the building called Bear-McClard a “double-insult” to the street and told the Post that she hopes he is evicted. “He’s a moneyman who can easily pay his rent and just chooses not to,” she said.
A quick glance at some of EmRata’s Instagram posts also shows several comments reading, “pay your rent!!!”
Meanwhile, Michael Kozek, lawyer for Bear-McClard, told the Post that his client will be fighting to “save” his home. “He’s an artist,” Kozek said. “Born and raised New Yorker and a child of artists who themselves fought to save their homes, including under the Loft Law.”