Testimony

REBNY to The New York City Department of Finance Regarding the Proposed Amendment to the Department’s Rules Concerning the Partial Tax Abatement for Residential Real Property Held in the Cooperative or Condominium Form of Ownership

Alexander Shapanka

Assistant Vice President of Policy, REBNY

March 23, 2022

New York State has long recognized the disparity in the property tax burden for owners of residential co-ops and condos relative to other homeowners. In recognition of this challenge, for the last several decades the State has provided a partial tax abatement that offers a percent-based benefit to co-op shareholders and condo owners who meet certain conditions, including but not limited to the property being the primary place of residence.

State law defines building service worker as, “any person who is regularly employed at a building who performs work in connection with the care or maintenance of such building… which includes, but is not limited to, watchman, guard, doorman, building cleaner, porter, handyman, janitor, gardener, groundskeeper, elevator operator and starter, and window cleaner.” However, not all properties have work arrangements that fit neatly into the identified categories raising questions about whether certain workers at these buildings are covered by the prevailing wage requirement.

For example, lifeguards in residential pools are not a listed occupation in the Comptroller’s building service employee prevailing wage schedule, but their responsibilities may include light daily maintenance, including vacuuming the pool and maintaining the correct water chemistry. While the majority of a lifeguard’s job responsibilities are not related to “the care or maintenance” of the building in which they work, REBNY has received several inquiries about whether such duties would subject those individuals to a prevailing wage obligation.