Under the new law, landlords will now be “held accountable for fixing underlying causes of recurring violations,” according to a press release issued by the City Council (http://on.nyc.gov/VQ9XfK). Conditions such as leaks, water damage, presence of mold, or no heat and hot water are commonplace in dwellings owned by negligent landlords.
Now, these same landlords will be forced to pay hefty fines if they fail to make the necessary repairs. They will have four to six months to comply with “an underlying conditions order” and must provide documentation to HPD demonstrating compliance. Landlords will also be required to sign an affidavit swearing the dangerous conditions have been fixed. If the landlord fails to comply with the order, HPD can make the repairs and seek civil penalties ranging up to $1,000 per unit or a minimum of $5,000 per building. If a landlord lies to HPD about making the repairs, s/he can also be subject to perjury charges.
“Quick fixes to cover up systematic structural problems aren’t acceptable – we’re talking about people’s homes,” said Speaker Quinn. “Purely cosmetic repairs only worsen conditions for tenants, putting their health, safety and well-being at risk. This legislation will empower HPD inspectors to treat the cause – not just the symptom – of repeat violations. Now, instead of simply painting over water damage or doing patchwork, landlords must repair the hole in the roof that’s causing it.”
Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill into law soon.