It's safe to say Emily Ratajkowski and husband Sebastian Bear-McClard aren't getting along with their neighbors, who along with their landlord are angry at the couple for living rent-free in their New York City loft thanks to a legal loophole.
Bear-McClard, a filmmaker worth an estimated $12 million, allegedly stopped paying rent in 2017 when his lease ended, and now owes the landlord $120,000 for the unit on Bleecker Street in NoHo, claiming protection under the state's Loft Law, a building representative told the New York Post.
The Loft Law, enacted in 1982, was originally passed to keep landlords from evicting struggling artists and other low-income residents living illegally in commercial loft spaces. It technically applies to the Bleecker Street building, but neighbors and building officials are incensed at the thought that Bear-McClard, who has been sub-letting the apartment since 2013, is not paying his dues.
“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, a spokeswoman for a coalition of loft building owners that includes Bear-McClard and Ratajkowski's space, which was once a manufacturing building.
“It’s pathetic,” said a man who lives near the 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 neighbor who lives in the building called Bear-McClard a "double-insult" to the street and told the Post that she hopes he's evicted. "He's a moneyman who can easily pay his rent and just chooses not to," she said.
Bear-McClard, 31, who married Ratajkowski, 27, last year, reportedly hasn't paid a penny of the $4,900 monthly rent since his lease expired in 2017, lease holder Antoni Ghosh claimed in Manhattan Civil Court.
Bear-McClard and Ratajkowski's unit was originally the art studio of oil painter Joanne Corneau, who gained fame while working there and left in the 1990s.
Bear-McClard's attorney Michael Kozek defended his client, saying that he is an artist who wants to continue living in his home.0comments
"Mr. McClard is fighting to save his home, which he has lived in for years," Kozek said. "He's an artist. Born and raised New Yorker and a child of artists who themselves fought to save their homes, including under the Loft Law."
Photo credit: Dia Dipasupil / Staff / Getty