In this week’s Voice cover story, “How Not to Pay Rent,” Maria Luisa Tucker reports on tenants who live in illegal lofts and just stop paying. The legal situation may be changing, but until now landlords have had little practical means of collecting. She profiles one group of roommates, in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, who suggest that it’s their landlord who’s falling down on the deal. (Pictured below is Puge Ruhe, who put his bartending tips toward launching a record label while living in the illegal building. For a tour of their loft, click here.)
“When it rains, it pisses in over here,” says Puge Ruhe as he motions to a corner of their loft. “We have clumps of stuff falling from the ceiling. . . . There are no fire escapes in here. We would die if there was a fire.”
Is your rent worth it? And have you ever had the nerve to stop paying?