Intro No. 1589 Relating to Increasing Occupancy in Private Dwellings

TESTIMONY
of
Carl Hum
Senior Vice President
Management Services and Government Affairs, The Real Estate Board of New York
before the
New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings
on
Introduction No. 1589

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

DATE: June 13, 2017

INTRO NO: 1589
SUBJECT: Boarders, lodgers or roomers in a private dwelling
SUMMARY: Increases the number of boarders, roomers, or lodgers permitted in private dwellings
SPONSORS: Williams, Cornegy Jr.

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 Intro No. 1589 because it would pose safety and liability issues.

Intro No. 1589 amends the Housing Maintenance Code (HMC) and the building code, which currently prohibit three or more roomers, lodgers and boarders in a dwelling, by increasing the occupancy limit up to four unrelated residents.[1] Increasing the allowable occupancy for particularly small units, such studios or small one-bedroom apartments, for example, would pose safety and habitability concerns because of its density. More importantly, the question of where these additional residents would live within the unit is particularly concerning considering the conversion to additional rooming units is explicitly prohibited by HMC.[2] Additionally, this bill overlooks significant liability issues associated with already existing lease agreements and cooperative and condominium bylaws with provisions to limit occupancy.

The intent behind this bill is to create an exception for bed and breakfasts.[3] If that is the case, then the bill’s sponsors should create licensing provisions for such businesses under the auspices of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Amending the HMC will unnecessarily invoke the inclusion of other dwelling units.

For the reasons set forth above, REBNY OPPOSES INTRO No. 1589.

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[1] § 27-2078 of the Administrative Code of New York.

[2] § 27-2077 of the Administrative Code of New York.

[3] Anuta, Joe. Council Bill will Aid Bed-and-Breakfasts Caught in Airbnb Dragnet. Crain’s New York Business. May 26, 2017. Web. Retrieved June 7, 2017. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20170526/REAL_ESTATE/170529901/city-council-bill-to-aid-bed-and-breakfasts-caught-in-airbnb-dragnet