The Committee on Housing and Buildings met earlier this morning to present eight pieces of legislation to the public and to hear testimony from representatives from the Department of Buildings, Housing Preservation and Development, housing advocates, and members of the real estate industry. There was no one unifying theme around the eight bills. They deal with a wide variety of issues, from signage for portable ramps to stop work orders.
Int. No. 342
Would amend § 28-201.2.3, add § 28-313.3, and add § 28-315.6.3 to the administrative code. It would also add an item to § 1110.3 of the building code. It was introduced by Council Member Deborah Rose (D-Dist. 49) and will require a sign be placed at inaccessible building entrances indicating that a portable ramp is available upon request, provided such a ramp does indeed exist.
Int. No. 353-A
Would add § 28-103.32 to the administrative code, thereby requiring the Department of Buildings to create a system whereby users of its website could sign up to receive emails whenever a change in status is recorded on construction projects of interest. It was introduced by Council Members Helen Rosenthal (D-Dist. 6), Justin Brannan (D-Dist. 43), Rafael Salamanca Jr. (D-Dist. 17), and Kalman Yeger (D-Dist. 44).
Int. No. 385-A
Introduced by Council Members Carlina Rivera (D-Dist. 2) and Helen Rosenthal (D-Dist. 6), this bill would amend subdivision c of § 27-2053 of the administrative code to require buildings post a current color photograph of the current janitor in a conspicuous place.
While the impetuous behind the bill is to make it easier for tenants and building staff to identify individuals who should not have access to the building, HPD expressed their reservations about the actual implementation of such a policy. Many buildings (both large and small) outsource their janitorial services to companies that utilize a large staff of workers, not just one. Given this fact, it is extremely unlikely that the bill will pass in its current form.
Int. No. 585
Evidently inspired by a community meeting attended by the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Dist. 45), Int. No. 585 would amend § 27-2104 and add paragraph 7 to § 27-2098 of the administrative code. It would require owners of multiple dwelling buildings to include in their registration statement a statement that either affirms or denies that there are rent regulated units in the building. It would also require owners to post a notice that includes this information in a conspicuous place within the building.
While the participants in the aforementioned community meeting were unable to tell if their buildings or buildings within the community contained regulated units, this information is available through the state via HCR because owners have to submit this information to them annually. Consequently, the representative from HPD seemed to think that the legislation, as written, is misguided. The legislation should be amended to simply require HCR to share the information they already possess with the city. They did not comment on the idea of requiring owners to post stabilization information within their buildings.
Int. No. 780
Would amend Local Law 55 of 2018, which deals with landlords’ responsibilities concerning pests, vermin, and indoor allergen hazards. Specifically, it would remove the phrase “reasonable efforts” from the existing legislation that has not even gone into effect at this point. Introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Dist. 2), this bill would amend the language of the law to better reflect what was evidently supposed to be the final version of local law according to those who involved with the drafting of the original legislation.
The Rent Stabilization Association is against this legislation because “there is no justification based upon data or any other evidence that the current law is not working as intended,” despite the fact that the current law has not gone into effect.
Int. No. 862
Would amend § 28-105.10.1 and § 28-207.2 of the administrative code to require the Department of Buildings to issue stop work orders along with notices to revoke work permits. It was introduced by Council Members Paul Vallone (D-Dist. 19) and Robert Holden (D-Dist. 30).
It is unlikely that this bill will become law. The Department of Buildings feels they have the appropriate level of discretion to determine when a stop work order should be issued and that an increase in stop work orders, which would result if this legislation becomes law, would produce numerous undesirable results. Per Patrick Wehle, Assistant Commissioner of External Affairs for the Department of Buildings: “The Department does not support this bill, as issuing a stop work order with every letter of intent to revoke a permit could unnecessarily stop construction work that could otherwise continue in a safe and compliant manner.”
Int. No. 948
Would add § 27-2046.4 to the administrative code. It would allow the city to install temperature reporting devices in the 150 class A multiple dwellings with the highest ration of temperature violations to units. This has been a pet project of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for some time and was sponsored by 11 Council Members.
Though it is opposed by the Rent Stabilization Association, which described it as a “waste of time," there is virtually no chance that this bill will fail to become law.
Int No. 979
Introduced by Council Members Donovan Richards (D-Dist. 31) and Stephen Levin (D-Dist. 7), this bill would add § 26-2001 to the administrative code and create additional regulatory infrastructure to facilitate interactions between the city and community land trusts.