In: Queens Property Management

In what can be a sign of things to come in the future of New York City’s continuing fight against Airbnb’s short-term rentals, the New York State Senate recently passed a bill that would make it illegal to advertise any short-term rentals (short-term is classified as anything less than 30 days) for entire homes on their website.

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The New York City Water Board has unanimously approved a 2.1 percent increase in the city’s water and sewer rates, effective July 1, 2016.

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New York City’s Department of Buildings has issued a new regulation for buildings with elevators in 2016. Effective January 1st of this year, the DOB is now requiring buildings to inspect and maintain their elevator machine brake every year. Not only is the brake to be inspected, but the building is now required to document and properly tag the elevator brake.

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As per NYC Law any building that was constructed prior to January 1, 1978 is required to send out Lead Paint Notices to occupants each January. Should a child reside in the unit who is under the age of six (6) years old, the building is required to inspect that particular unit at least one (1) time per year, at any time in the year.

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Local Law 47 of 2015 was put into place in October 2015 for one specific purpose; to ensure that building owners and landlords were advising their tenants of any upcoming outages of hot water, electricity, gas or heat that will have a duration of more than two hours.

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When purchasing a property or refinancing a mortgage, a lending bank will do a Title Search on the property in question. Often, if there are outstanding violations on file for the subject property, the bank will ask the Agent for an Indemnification and Hold Harmless letter stating that the Condominium Association, Cooperative Corporation and/or Managing Agent will indemnify them for all claims and damages as a result of these violations.

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In another area of enforcement from HPD, Local Law 65 of 2014 now authorizes HPD to impose inspection fees where violations are issued in the same dwelling unit multiple times over the course of a single twelve-month period. HPD began implementing the law on August 20, 2015. The parameters of the new law are described just below:

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On May 6, 2015, Mayor DeBlasio signed into law, Local Law 39 of 2015 (Intro 433 of 2014), which states that all multifamily buildings are required to maintain electrical outlet safety and tamper resistant receptacles in public areas (with the exception of public parts of the building that are used exclusively for mechanical or storage purposes).

Compliance of this law can be done in a few ways. Buildings can choose to install electrical outlets that are listed as tamper-resistant receptacles, in accordance with New York City electrical code, or they can install and maintain protective caps, covers or other safety devices over outlets. Failure to abide by the new law after August 4th will result in a building receiving a Class A violation.

If you have any questions on the implementation of this program and do not want to use protective caps, it would be in the building’s best interest to speak with a licensed and insured electrician to begin the process of installing tamper-resistant receptacles in all common areas of your building.

As we’ve covered before, Local Law 11 is one of the critical inspections and filing procedures for buildings that are large than six (6) stories within the confines of New York City. We’re now in Cycle 8 (info on that here). But if your building never filed for Cycle 7, and was required to, that would usually lead to harsh fines and penalties from the City. An Amnesty Program was just announced that should ease the burden and help the city stay safe at the same time.

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We have covered the heating requirements in multi-family buildings (link here) in the past, but what do we know about the required hot water temperature within an apartment that is located in the New York City area? That’s pretty easy, so long as you know the law.

WHO DOES THE LAW APPLY TO? Under New York State law, the law applies to all owners of buildings with three (3) or more apartments that are built after April 18, 1929, and before January 1, 1951 that are three (3) stories or more in height AND all owners of buildings with three (3) or more units that are built after January 1, 1951.

Under a more specific New York City hot water law, the law applies to all owners of buildings with three (3) or more units built before April 18, 1929, all owners of buildings with three (3) or more units built after April 18, 1929 and before January 1, 1951 that have fewer than three (3) stories AND all owners of tenant-occupied 1 or 2-family dwellings in NYC.

WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE? The New York State hot water law requires that all residents in a building that falls under the jurisdiction be given hot water that is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit in every shower, bath and sink, 24-hours per day. Building owners in New York City must provide hot water that is at least 120 Fahrenheit in every shower, bath and sink between 6am – Midnight, every day of the year.

NEW YORK CITY LAW ONLY: Owners that fall within the NYC hot water law must install an anti-scald feature on any valve that controls the water supply to bathtubs and showers when renovating the water supply in the bathroom or when installing a new bathroom. An anti-scald feature will prevent the temperature from reaching above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to prevent burns. If an anti-scald device is used, the minimum temperature that it can have water coming out is 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

WHAT FINES CAN MY BUILDING BE SUBJECT TO FOR NOT PROVIDING HOT WATER? Should your building fail to provide adequate hot water to residents as prescribed by State law, the building owner may be fined $500 and/or imprisoned for up to 30 days, per offense. Owners who violate the City hot water law could be fined between $250 – $500 for a 1st violation and between $500 – $1,000 per day for each violation that occurs during the same year. If renovating a bathroom or installing a new bathroom, the fine for not installing a proper anti-scald device can see a $500 penalty per violation.

Hot water and heat are two of the most important services that a landlord / building owner can provide. While it’s understandable that from time-to-time there will be boiler issues and repairs are warranted, a systematic problem that sees residents out of hot water on a consistent basis is a problem that will need to be resolved.

If you are in a building with a systematic hot water or heat issue, please call 311 (after calling your building management company) to report the building and to have an inspector visit and issue a violation, if needed.