Comments on the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development Proposed Rules on Indoor Allergen Hazards

VIEW THE PROPOSED RULES

Agenda

As the City’s leading real estate trade association, the Real Estate Board of New York (“REBNY”) submits these comments on behalf of its membership which is comprised of commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers and brokers. REBNY has the following comments to offer:

Lack of clarity regarding how this applies to co-op and condos? How does this apply to interior spaces? Building owner obligated to address leaks from behind the wall, but generally this will just have to be something individual unit owners have to deal with.

So I reread the new law and the proposed regulations (a truly exciting train ride).

The law indicates that "cause an investigation to made for all allergen hazards in all occupied dwellings and in common areas..." and "The investigations shall be taken at least once a year..." This is very vague, but then the proposed rules do not have anything to address the inspection requirement of the law.

The law and the regulations go into great detail about addressing the indoor allergens, work practices, correcting violations, etc. However, unless I missed it, there is nothing in the law or the regulations that prescribe a penalty for failure to perform annual inspections.

Am I correct?

The law and regulations are more detailed about the notice requirements in leases. As usual, they are crafted for conventional rental apartments. It can be applied to coops, but not sure how it applies to condominium sales.

Indoor Allergen Hazards (Mold and pests)

Effective January 19th, 2019, under Local Law 55 of 2018, owners of multiple dwellings will be required to annually inspect units for indoor allergen hazards, such as mice, cockroaches, rats, and mold.

Key owner obligations under the new law include:

  • Performing annual inspections in each dwelling unit and common area of the building;
  • Providing a notice and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) pamphlet to prospective and current tenants (at the time of lease renewal) that inform the household of the owner’s obligation to do the following:
  •  
    • a required annual inspection of each dwelling unit; and
    •  remediate mold, pests, and underlying conditions that cause mold and attract pests.
  • Use integrated pest management to address pest infestations, and prescribed work practices to fix mold and underlying defects (such as leaks).
  • Perform mold, pest, and underlying defect remediation along with thorough cleaning of any owner-provided carpeting or furniture before a new tenant moves into an apartment.

Leard more about an owner’s obligation in the remediation of mold and pests. Required notices and pamphlets will be made available on this page when they become available.

The law requires owners to investigate, make reasonable efforts to remove indoor allergen hazards, and address any underlying conditions that could give rise to indoor allergen hazards in multiple dwellings. An Indoor allergen hazard is defined as any infestation of cockroaches, mice, rats or mold.

In order to comply with the law, owners must perform an annual inspection for indoor allergen hazards and underlying defects, such as water leaks or entryway paths for pests, in units and common areas of the building and repair defects using safe practices (Integrated Pest Management Strategies) outlined in the rules.

The law also calls for owners to notify new and existing tenants of these responsibilities within lease agreements (sample language is provided by the rules in Appendix A). Owners must also provide each tenant with a pamphlet from the NYC Department of Health, which the agency is currently developing.

At the discretion of HPD, owners may be eligible for additional time to correct hazardous violations provided they apply in writing for a postponement and can show prompt action to correct violations.

The rules do not provide for an implementation date, but the effective date of the Local Law is January 19, 2019. Once these proposed rules are adopted we expect HPD to begin enforcing the law.