This week's New York magazine has a piece suggesting that New York City "appears to be" stepping up enforcement of Soho's artist-in-residence laws:
"In 1977, Soho, and Noho, were zoned for 'joint living-working' spaces, meaning properties there are for so-called artists-in-residence (AIR) only. ... It’s a little-known fact that to live in a loft in most Soho buildings, at least one loft resident has to be certified by the city as an artist. In typical New York fashion, the vetting process is byzantine, requiring individuals to be engaged in the 'fine arts'; to demonstrate a 'serious, consistent commitment' to their art; and need a large space."
According to the article, "brokers say that until recently, there was no real reason to worry," but "as more co-ops bring their properties up to code or convert to condominiums, enforcement appears to be stepping up" and "apparently, there are more than a few co-ops under Department of Buildings scrutiny for AIR-related violations." (A DOB spokesperson says, “The law has not changed, nor has our enforcement of the law. We continue to enforce the AIR regulations as we always have.")