Prohibits the interruption of service during review of an application by the loft board.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to prohibiting service interruption
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit building owners from interrupting or discontinuing essential services from the time an occupant files and application for coverage under the Loft Law, until a final determination, including appeals, has been made by the Loft Board to approve or deny such applications.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill amends section 282-a of the multiple dwelling law.
JUSTIFICATION: The Loft Law expansion passed in June 2010 opened up the original Loft Law to eligible Loft Tenants throughout New York City and affords those tenants stringent protections and rent stabilization, among a host of other benefits. However, until the Loft Board makes a final decision on an application for coverage, sometimes after a lengthy appeals process, loft occupants are not legally afforded the basic rights attached to residential occupancy, including the right to be heard in Housing Court and the warranty of habitability. Similarly, because until the Loft Board makes its decision loft occupants have no legal status as residential tenants of any kind, they are unable to turn to any City or State agency for assistance with simple landlord-tenant issues.
In some circumstances where occupants have applied for Loft Law coverage, building owners who have allowed for and encouraged the illegal residential conversion of their buildings for years have retaliated against those occupants, hoping to evade the requirements of the Loft Law, including bringing their buildings up to safety code. In response to instances where owners have harassed occupants, purposefully vacated their buildings and sent long-time occupants out on the street, cut off heat strategically in the coldest winter days and cut off water to try to force the residents to leave, this legislation protects these occupants against the interruption of essential services such as heat and hot water - the most basic and necessary of protections. This legislation deems it unlawful to cut off such basic services to loft occupants who have applied to the Loft Board in accordance with the 2010 law and allows them to be heard in Housing Court in the event of an interruption of essential services, the most proper venue for issues of this kind.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4035 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 15, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to prohibiting service interruption THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 282-a of the multiple dwelling law, as added by chapter 147 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 282-a. Limitation on applications for coverage of interim multiple dwellings and residential units. 1. All applications for registration as an interim multiple dwelling or for coverage of residential units under this article shall be filed with the loft board within six months after the date the loft board shall have adopted all rules or regulations necessary in order to implement the provisions of
[the]chapter ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN of the laws of [2010 which added this section]TWO THOUSAND TEN. The loft board may subsequently amend such rules and regulations but such amendments shall not recommence the time period in which applications may be filed. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, after such date no further applications for registration or coverage as an interim multiple dwelling or for coverage under this article shall be accepted for owners or occupants of buildings that would otherwise qualify as interim multiple dwellings or for coverage pursuant to this article. 2. WHERE ANY OCCUPANT HAS FILED AN APPLICATION FOR COVERAGE PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE AND HAS RECEIVED A DOCKET NUMBER FROM THE LOFT BOARD, IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR AN OWNER TO CAUSE OR INTEND TO CAUSE SUCH OCCUPANT TO VACATE, SURRENDER OR WAIVE ANY RIGHTS IN RELATION TO SUCH OCCUPANCY, DUE TO REPEATED INTERRUPTIONS OR DISCONTINUANCES OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES, OR AN INTERRUPTION OR DISCONTINUANCE OF AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE FOR AN EXTENDED DURATION OR OF SUCH SIGNIFICANCE AS TO SUBSTANTIALLY IMPAIREXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08755-03-1 S. 4035 2
HABITABILITY OF SUCH UNIT, AT ANY TIME BEFORE THE LOFT BOARD HAS MADE A FINAL DETERMINATION, INCLUDING APPEALS, TO APPROVE OR DENY SUCH APPLICA- TION. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT GRANT ANY RIGHTS OF CONTINUED OCCUPANCY OTHER THAN THOSE OTHERWISE GRANTED BY LAW. ANY AGREEMENT THAT WAIVES OR LIMITS THE BENEFITS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE DEEMED VOID AS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY. IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER REMEDIES PROVIDED IN THIS ARTI- CLE FOR FAILURE TO BE IN COMPLIANCE, IN ARTICLE EIGHT OF THIS CHAPTER, OR IN THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE LOFT BOARD, AN OCCUPANT WHO HAS FILED AN APPLICATION WITH THE LOFT BOARD FOR COVERAGE UNDER THIS ARTICLE MAY, NO LATER THAN THIRTY-SIX MONTHS AFTER THE LOFT BOARD SHALL HAVE ADOPTED RULES AND REGULATIONS AS SET FORTH IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, COMMENCE AN ACTION OR PROCEEDING IN A COURT OF COMPETENT JURIS- DICTION, WHICH NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW SHALL INCLUDE THE HOUSING PART OF THE NEW YORK CITY CIVIL COURT, TO ENFORCE THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.