Memo Regarding Intro No. 1004

M E M O R A N D U M   O F   O P P O S I T I O N

 

BILL:                       Intro No. 1004

SUBJECT:              Requiring successor employers of buildings to retain eligible employees for a transition employment period

DATE:                    February 1, 2016

SPONSORS:        Cornegy, Miller, Williams, Johnson, Menchaca, Kallos, Lander, Dromm, Levine, Lancman, Chin, Bramer, King, Cumbo, Torres, Dickens, Eugene, Rosenthal, Richards, Gentile, Maisel, Espinal, Reynoso, Treyger, Mealy, Crowley, Constantinides, Rodriguez, and Ferreras-Copeland

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 1004 because as set forth below, the proposed legislation unnecessarily encumbers  the already complex lease negotiation process.

In the thirteen years since Administrative Code Section 22-505 was amended to require successor building owners and managers to retain eligible employees for a ninety-day transition employment period, there has been relatively few incidents of non-compliance.  Owners and managers of certain building sizes have become accustomed to working within the parameters of this law in the interest of protecting certain eligible employees.

Introduction No 1004, however, seeks to extend these same responsibilities to tenants of certain leased commercial properties.  The bill also expands the definition of covered employees to include security officers and fire safety directors, and proscribes the award of liquidated damages equivalent to back pay for violations of the bill.

Lease negotiation is a complex process between the owner and tenant involving market conditions, energy usage, and anticipated use of the space to name but a few factors.  The legislation’s imposition of additional legal obligations that would run with the leased property are an unnecessary encumbrance upon the leasehold that unduly expands the traditional responsibilities of the tenant (e.g., maintaining the space and observing building rules) to that of an employer.  As such, the bill could lead to the devaluation of certain leaseholds due to these newly imposed obligations.  Further, we find the imposition of liquidated damages to be unfounded as there have not been any reported incidents of prior covered employers flagrantly disobeying the current law.

For the foregoing reasons, we voice our opposition to Introduction No 1004.