Be prepared for important changes in the Housing Maintenance Code beginning in October - by Peter Goldstein

September 19, 2017 - Spotlights
Peter Goldstein,
Langsam Property
Services, Corp.

A number of important changes in the Housing Maintenance Code will be taking place within the next few months, some as early as October 1, 2017. Owners and managers must make the necessary adjustments to avoid violations and penalties if the changes aren’t made.

Change to heat regulations beginning October 1, 2017

Beginning October 1, 2017, pursuant to Local Law 86 of 2017, the regulations regarding the provision of heat during the nighttime hours have changed. Property owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 62º during heating season. There is no longer a nighttime outdoor trigger temperature. Beginning October 1, the building will be subject to violations and fines if the temperature falls below 62º at night, so take necessary action to ensure that your heating system will be provide heat according to the law at the start of heating season. Daytime regulations have not changed.

Bed Bug Reporting 

According to Local Law 69 of 2017, effective November 6, 2017, multiple dwelling property owners must attempt to obtain the bed bug infestation history from the tenant or unit owner, including whether eradication measures were employed for a bedbug infestation. Starting December 2018, owners will be required to submit information in a report for each apartment in the building from the previous year (11/17 to 11/18), regarding bed bug infestation. These reports on bed bug infestation will be required every December for the previous year. Failure to comply with this policy can result in violations and fines so take all precautions to adjust to the new requirements.

Property Registration

All residential buildings with three or more units, including cooperatives, condominiums, hotels, rent-regulated buildings and non-rent regulated residential buildings, are required to register with HPD annually. The registration period begins September 1, 2017 and runs through Setember1, 2018. Buildings without a valid property registration:

• Are subject to an order and civil penalties of $250-$500;

• Are ineligible to certify HPD violations;

• Are ineligible to file a dismissal request or reissuance request; and

• Cannot initiate a court action to recover possession of the premises for nonpayment of rent.

Order to repair/vacate order

Pursuant to Local Law 14, effective August 14, 2017, when HPD issues an Order to Repair/Vacate Order, owners:

• Must ensure that a copy of the Order to Repair/Vacate Order remains posted on the entrance door of the building/unit until it is revoked by the department. If the posted Order to Repair/Vacate Order is removed, the owner will be subject to a violation and civil penalties. Beginning August 14, 2017, a copy of the Order to Repair/Vacate Order will be available via HPDonline through HPD’s website (www.nyc.gov/hpd), or contact HPD at their Borough Office to obtain an additional copy of the Order to Repair/Vacate Order; and

• Must ensure that any building/unit vacated by the Order to Repair/Vacate Order is not re-occupied unless the Order has been revoked by the department. If the vacated building or unit is re-occupied, the owner will be subject to a violation and a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 for each re-occupied unit.

Once the repairs have been completed in the apartment, according to the conditions listed in the Vacate Order, the owner must apply for a dismissal request through HPD to have the Vacate Order lifted.

I can’t stress the importance of being proactive in preparing for these new procedures and fully complying with them on the day they go into effect because if these new policies aren’t taken seriously, the building will be issued violations which result in high monetary penalties. 

Peter Goldstein is the violation compliance specialist at Langsam Property Services, Corp., Bronx, N.Y.

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