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Crime & Cases January 31, 2013  RSS feed

Mandatory Repair Bill Now A Law

Landlords Must Fix Problems Or Pay Up
by Robert Pozarycki

Some of the city’s most negligent landlords will be ordered to repair underlying problems in their buildings or face financial penalties from the city under a new law signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last Thursday, Jan. 24.

The mayor penned his signature on Intro. No. 967, which allows the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to require landlords who are found in violation of the city’s Housing Maintenance Code or Multiple Dwelling Law to fix underlying problems in their buildings which cause the violations.

“HPD is charged with ensuring residences throughout the city are safe and habitable, and while the overwhelming number of property owners maintain their properties adequately, there are instances where property owners are ordered to correct a violation,” Bloomberg said, noting that most of the violations are “typically related to mold and water leaks.”

Some of the landlords, however, “only correct the surface condition and not the underlying cause which results in violations being issued repeatedly and the problem never being solved,” the mayor added.

Under the legislation, which was approved by the City Council on Jan. 9, property owners who receive notice from the HPD will have up to four months to comply with the repair order. If an owner makes the requested repair, they must submit to the HPD documents certifying that the improvements were completed.

Should the owner fail to follow the city’s order, the law allows the HPD to hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs. The owner will be charged for the repairs and face additional financial penalties of $1,000 per unit in violation, or a minimum of $5,000.

Owners may seek a two-month extension from the HPD to complete the work, as approved by the agency.

Among the co-sponsors of the legislation were City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm and James Gennaro.