Memo Regarding Intro No. 918

BILL:                       Intro No. 918

SUBJECT:             In relation to professionally certified applications for construction document approval and final inspections of permitted work

DATE:                    April 18, 2016

SPONSORS:        Chin, Menchaca, Johnson, Kallos, Levin, Levine, Mendez, Reynoso, Rosenthal, Lander, Rodriguez, Van Bramer, Rose

The Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”), representing over 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City, opposes Introduction No. 918 because as set forth below, the legislation would effectively cripple repair work needed to be performed on many residential buildings. 

The bill states that construction or related documents pertaining to R-2 occupancies (which are primarily apartment buildings and apartment hotels) will no longer be subject to anything less than full examination if they are more than 10 percent occupied or if the occupancy is owned by someone who, in the past 15 years, has been found in court to have failed to fulfill his or her duties as the owner per section 27-2005 of the housing maintenance code. Buildings that fall into either of these categories would also now be subject to final inspections.

Self-certification is a mechanism that exists to relieve the administrative burden on DOB and facilitate quick repairs by streamlining the process to obtain permits. If self-certification were eliminated or greatly reduced, as would be the case were this bill enacted, DOB would be overwhelmed with a series of plan reviews and other applications, slowing down the permitting process construction, renovation, and repair which will adversely affect the production, preservation and production of affordable housing.

REBNY takes no issue in increased accountability for unlawful building owners, but has concerns with the number of buildings this legislation would inadvertently affect. A new owner of a 100-unit building, 11 units of which are already occupied, should be allowed to self-certify in order to make repairs or additions to his or her building without being subject to full document examination or final inspections. These renovations may also sometimes be necessary on a time-sensitive basis in order to attract residents to a building which may be losing the owner