How Emily Ratajkowski & Her Millionaire Husband Legally Avoided Paying Rent In Their NYC Apartment For Years

They took advantage of a state loophole.

Emily Ratajkowski and husband Sebastian Bear-McClard at an NBA game in 2020 Twitter

With Emily Ratajkowski and her husband Sebastian Bear-McClard reportedly heading for a divorce amid allegations of him cheating — fans are looking back on another of Bear-McClard's scandals.

The filmmaker, who married Ratajkowski in 2018, was subject to some backlash a year after the couple's wedding when reports emerged that the affluent couple was running into bother with their landlord.

Emily Ratajkowski and Sebastian Bear-McClard avoided paying rent in New York City.

In March 2019, the New York Post reported that Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard weren’t paying rent on their Bleecker Street loft. Neighbors harshly criticized the two millionaires for dodging their $4,900 monthly payments.


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Bear-McClard began subletting the loft in 2013 but didn't pay a penny in rent after the lease expired in 2017 — all thanks to a legal loophole.

“It’s pathetic,” said Joseph Vera, a 62-year-old musician who lives nearby. “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 a– to the people who made Bleecker Street what it is.”

“It’s really unfair… This guy (Bear-McClard) is a double-insult to our street. He’s a moneyman who can easily pay his rent and just chooses not to,” said another neighbor who chose to remain anonymous.


“I hope he gets evicted as soon as possible so that his apartment can go to someone more deserving — maybe someone with a little humility.”

Emily Ratajkowski defended her husband over Twitter.

Users on social media also directed comments on the controversy towards Ratajkowski. She initially kept quiet in the face of the comments, but eventually responded after a few weeks.

“He’s an independent movie producer so people thinking he’s rich is real nice but not based in fact,” Ratajkowski said on Twitter.

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“He was raised in the neighborhood he lives in now, both of his parents are artists who were priced out of their homes in downtown New York. I’m proud he’s fighting the good fight against a real estate conglomerate that bought the building he lives in for 40 million and has continued to spread misinformation on its tenants in order to profit.”


Bear-McClard allegedly avoided $160,000 in rent payment over the course of two years. However, he and Ratajkowski claim they are exempt from paying rent thanks to New York’s Loft Law.

What is the Loft Law?

Essentially, the Loft Law prevents tenants from being evicted in certain circumstances.

The law, originally enacted in 1982, states that landlords must keep buildings up to code when artists and others looking for live-and-work areas occupy them. Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the law in June 2019 that allows more residents to apply for protections.

According to court documents, Bear-McClard stopped paying rent in 2017, just after they applied to register their unit under the law. Landlord Antoni Ghosh alleged that they “utilized delay tactics while that application was being processed, not paying rent” in court documents.


Ghosh, who just rents the property out rather than owning it, sought $250,000 in damages in his lawsuit against the couple. Rogers Investments, which actually owns the building, reportedly paid the couple to vacate the building. Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Ghosh dropped his lawsuit in March. 

Ratajkowski and Bear-McClard bought a $2 million home in Los Angeles after moving out. 

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with his content.