Friday, January 20, 2012

NYS Assembly Passes Two Housing Bills Geared to Protect Tenants: Slumlord Ownership Rights at Risk

If this bill passes in the NYS Senate alleged “slumlords” could lose their buildings. This bill could be a game changer on multiple levels.



Assembly Passes Two Bills Sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz

Legislation Would Require Landlords to Make Repairs and Keep Tenants Safe, and Require NYS Health Department Commissioner to Act When Lead Poisoning Is Discovered

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) is pleased to announce that A.715 was passed by a unanimous vote in the Assembly yesterday. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz, would require timely and complete removal of existing building code violations within apartment buildings. The bill also would close loopholes that allow negligent landlords to retain control of rental property that they do not repair unless a court grants an extension of time when good cause has been shown.

Although existing law authorizes housing courts to replace negligent landlords with court-appointed administrators, the court often permits the landlord to retain ownership of the property if he or she promises to fix the problems “with due diligence” in a certain period of time. Often these landlords do not take any steps to remedy the code violations and their actions can result in injury or even death for the tenants of the buildings they own. This bill would insure that landlords must make necessary repairs in a timely fashion or risk losing control over the property.

“I wrote this legislation in response to the tragic death of a child from a fire which would have never happened but for the lack of court-ordered repairs by a landlord. The Assembly has again passed this important legislation, and I hope that this is the year that the State Senate will finally also pass it so that it can become law,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. The bill now awaits action in the State Senate where it is sponsored by Senator Jose Peralta.

A.717, sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz, also passed the Assembly yesterday and awaits action by the State Senate.

The bill would require the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health to take action when an area of lead poisoning has been designated. Current law leaves such action at the discretion of the Commissioner. This legislation would strengthen existing law and ensure that when a threat is present, the Department of Health would be required to notify the public and take proper action.

“This is a very simple and straight-forward common sense bill that can have a direct impact on the health of young children. Any time lead is discovered in an apartment, action must be taken immediately. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to move quickly and pass this legislation,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz.

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