New laws that impact New York City condos and co-ops

Effective this year, there are some new laws that can impact residents of New York City condominiums and co-ops as well as the boards and corporations responsible for these residences. Let's look at two that are aimed at the health and safety of the people who live there.

One new law, with the lengthy title "New York City Indoor Asthma Allergen Hazards in Residential Dwellings and Pest Management," requires owners of multifamily dwellings to investigate and remedy all indoor allergen hazards. These can include mold as well as cockroaches and varmints like rats and mice. Local Law 55 also sets standards for this assessment and remediation work and requires that contractors and others who perform these services be properly trained and licensed to do so.

One attorney notes, "This is certainly good news intended to assist affected individuals, but it can also place additional financial and other burdens on a cooperative corporation….[but] does allow the cooperative corporation to shift liability via agreement."

Another new law (Local Law 17) was enacted after a tragic accident in which a young boy playing with the knobs on a stove set fire to an apartment building that resulted in numerous fatalities. It would require multifamily building owners to provide gas stove knob covers in units where any child under six years old lives.

It should be noted that this new law applies to co-ops and condos only if a unit is being sublet or rented out by the owner. It is the responsibility of the unit owner to ensure that these covers are provided for their tenants -- not the responsibility of the building owners.

These are just a couple of examples of the regulations that those who live in or are responsible for condos, co-ops and other multifamily dwellings in New York City should be aware of. If you have any questions about your liability for a health or safety issue or whom you can hold liable, it's wise to consult an experienced attorney.