In: New York City Laws
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.
HPD has just released the 2015 – 2016 MDR’s on their website, allowing building owners and property managers to update before the September deadline to file. If you log onto your online portfolio (link here) you can create a new PDF to print and have signed / dated by the managing agent and the building owner (or officer of the Board).
**Update on 5/8/15: The NYC Water Board voted to raise the water rates for FY2016 (effective 7/1/15) by 2.97%.**
The New York City Water Board has recently received a formal recommendation from the Department of Environmental Protection that the water rates should be increased for 2016. The increase that has been noted is 3.24%, which would also mark the second annual increase under Mayor de Blasio (3.35% last year).
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.
Filing Window (Sub-Cycle) A: Last Digit of Block # 4, 5, 6 or 9 – February 21, 2015 – February 21, 2017
New York City, in partnership with Electronic Recyclers International, Inc., is now providing an e-cycleNYC program to buildings in the New York City area. A state law, it is now illegal to discard of electronics in the normal trash and all buildings will need to abide by the guidelines that are set forth. If your building should sign up for the program and receive a Sanitation ticket for placing an electronic device out with the normal garbage (if a neighbor places a tv with your garbage, for instance), you will most likely have the ability to appeal the ticket and show good faith that you are in the program.
Accepted electronics for the e-cycleNYC program include televisions, dvd & dvr players, monitors, computers, peripherals (mouse, keyboard, etc.), tablets, printers, scanners, mobile phones, mp3 players and hard drives. Essentially, anything that is plugged in and has a storage function is acceptable. If an item is placed for collection with the e-cycleNYC program and it is cracked, such as a television with a broken screen, the city will request that tape be placed over the crack as to not endanger the staff when they are removing the items.
Items that are not acceptable for recycling in the program and that can be left out with the normal garbage collection are appliances such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines, blenders and stoves. In addition, batteries are not eligible for the e-cycleNYC program, either. There are consumer take-back programs available for rechargeable batteries at many locations that sell them (such as Staples) and normal alkaline batteries can be thrown out with the regular garbage.
Depending on how large your building is will determine what type of access you have to a storage bin, provided for free by the city. If you are in a building that is smaller than 50 units, a storage room can be kept where these items can be deposited. A bin will not be given to your building, but when there are more than 20 pieces of electronics to be picked up, your building can call the city to schedule a removal of those items. This room should not be located either more than one staircase down if there is no elevator, or should be accessible by an elevator. If your building is either too small for a storage room or if you feel as though you’ll never hit the required 20 pieces of electronics to initiate the pick-up, you can always donate your electronics at Goodwill (or another organization) or recycle select electronics at vendors that will accept them. Best Buy, for instance, has a mobile phone recycling drop off at the entrance to their stores.
If your building is larger than 50 units in size, you will be eligible to have a locked storage bin delivered that will be placed in a dedicated room or area of the building that is accessible to the residents and/or building staff only. The bins come in two different sizes; a small (2′ deep x 4′ wide x 5′ high) and a larger (2′ deep x 5.5′ deep x 6′ high). A padlock will be delivered with the storage bin and when there is a pickup, the entire storage bin will be removed and a new one left in its place (with a new padlock as well). The city will request that the room where the bin will be located be accessible either by service elevator or if steps are required to be navigated, a building-supplied ramp should be used to allow for the bins to be rolled up and down. If there is no ramp and there are only stairs leading to the room the bin will not be able to be delivered. It goes without saying that any room that is holding these bins should be large enough for the bin and additional room for turning.
The program will be available to those buildings that sign a license agreement with the city. These agreements cannot be altered in any way from their original text (building attorneys will not be able to revise them in any way). In addition, individual Certificates of Insurance will not be given to your building, but each entity that is named within the licensing agreement will be covered by the city’s insurance. The agreement is where a building would place the building’s name, management company’s name and any other parties that wish to be covered.
For buildings that are larger than 250 units, the city is happy to organize outdoor events on your property, with an e-cycleNYC truck and storage bins for the day. There are a few conditions that the building must maintain in order to host this event. The event must be held in an available outdoor space, such as a parking lot, it can take place any day of the week or weekend (a maximum of four hours) and it must be scheduled with e-cycleNYC at least 60 days in advance. It would be best if the building owner / managing agent could also publicize the upcoming event to all residents, at multiple times during the lead up to the event so that the event will result in higher levels of recycling by those looking to offload their old electronic devices. A resident survey or sign-up sheet will be utilized for e-cycleNYC to gauge the level of staffing needed.
If your building has a bin and would like to have the items removed form the subject property, you can schedule the pickup by calling 212-437-4647 or e-mailing [email protected]. Within three (3) business days, e-cycleNYC will replace your bin with an empty bin.
The last part of this installation and compliance with the e-cycleNYC program is that a representative from either your management company or from the building must attend a seminar given on this subject, at the Department of Sanitation, to go over all of the above information and to have any questions answered. You can call or e-mail the e-cycleNYC program to schedule by using the information given in the paragraph just above. If you are a part of a management company that manages multiple buildings, such as ours, one seminar attendance can cover each of the properties in your portfolio, but a separate license agreement would be needed for each individual property in your portfolio.
The New York City Department of Finance has recently changed its application process for the Co-op and Condo Property Tax Abatement (“CCA”) for unit owners. Unit owners can now apply for the CCA by completing the Homeowner Tax Benefit Application (click here to download). The revised application now includes CCA in addition to other benefits, such as STAR.
The following groups can now apply using this form:
– Unit Owners who purchased their unit / shares by January 5, 2015 are eligible to apply for the 2015 / 2016 tax year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). The filing deadline for this tax period was March 16, 2015.
– Unit Owners who purchased their unit / shares after January 5, 2015 should apply for the 2016 / 2017 tax year when that application (the updated links in this post now point that new link).
Please note that to be eligible, you must must use the subject unit as a primary residence and you can not own more than three residential units in the co-op or condo development.
If the unit is owned by a business entity, such as an LLC or a sponsor, your unit is not eligible for the abatements from the city.
In order to apply for the Abatement, you can view and download the application at this link: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/finance/downloads/pdf/payment_operations/exemptions_appl.pdf or you can call 311 and have the application mailed to you.
In addition, as a new policy that is in effect for 2015, an application will be given out at each closing for a new Shareholder or Unit Owner so that they may have the information as soon as they purchase a unit.
In January 2014, NYC enacted a new rule for those properties that had a retaining wall that is greater than 10-feet high and located on a public right of way. Local Law 37 of 2008 now dictates that all of those properties that fall into that category have their retaining walls inspected every five (5) years to determine if they are Safe, Safe with a Repair and Maintenance or Unsafe.
If you’re familiar with Local Law 11 for the facade, then you’ll be familiar with this as well. Depending on where your building is located, you will need to file in the year that is attributed to your borough.
2016: Staten Island
The DOB provides civil penalties of $1,000 per year for failure to file, plus $250 per month penalty until the property owner is in compliance. Failure to repair an unsafe condition carries a $1,000 per month fine until corrected.
We would recommend that all properties that are now required to inspect and file their properties talk to a local engineer that is qualified to perform the inspection and file on your behalf.
Beginning on March 1, 2015, New York City has a new law on the books that will require residential buildings to post a “Housing Information Guide For Tenants and Owners” that will alert residents in both english and spanish that there is a “ABC’s of Housing” guide located on the HPD website at www.hpd.gov/hpd.
For buildings that don’t post these new notices in the common area (such as a vestibule or mail area), the building could be subject to a fine of $250 for the infraction. If you would like to grab the text of the new law, you can download our PDF by clicking here or by downloading via the PDF at the beginning of this post.