Bill S682-2013

Relates to establishing the crime of illegal conversion or alteration of real property

Relates to establishing the crime of illegal conversion or alteration of real property.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CODES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S682

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the crime of illegal conversion or alteration of real property

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends the penal law by adding a new section 145.75 creating the crime of illegal conversion or alteration of real property. A person is guilty of illegal conversion or alteration of real property when that person (1) knowingly participated in, or if he or she is the owner, manager or tenant of such property, observed or was otherwise aware of the alteration or conversion of such property in violation of any state or local law, ordinance, code or rule or regulation relating to real property, buildings or multiple dwellings and (2) the alteration or conversion causes a serious physical injury or fatality to one or more persons. Illegal conversion or alteration of real property is a class C felony; provided, however, that illegal conversion of alteration of real property that results in fatality to one or more persons is a class B felony.

Section 2 of the bill sets forth an effective date on the first November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.

JUSTIFICATION:

Improper and illegal building conversions and alterations occur throughout the state, endangering residents, business owners, employees, construction workers, and emergency service responders, primarily firefighters.

Firefighters have been trapped and subsequently seriously injured or killed while fighting fires in illegally converted buildings in New York City in recent years, including a January 2005 fire in a Bronx apartment building with units containing illegal partitions where two firefighters died and four were injured while fighting the fire. Again in August 2006, a fire in a Bronx discount store where renovations had been professionally certified five years prior and were subsequently poorly implemented, killed two firefighters and injured over twenty others when the store's floor collapsed as firefighters entered the building, trapping the men underneath large quantities of debris. The fire collapse was later attributed to the building's rotting steel support beams.

Additional tragic events in New York City include a 2009 fire in an illegally converted building that caused the deaths of 3 people and a 2011 fire in an illegally converted building that seriously injured 6 civilians and 5 firefighters. In late 2011, a police officer was fatally wounded while trying to apprehend a suspect in an illegally converted apartment building which many believe created an extremely dangerous situation for police on the scene.

In a process where not all applications and submissions are reviewed by local officials and private professionals are often empowered and trusted to certify project and development plans, it is crucial that there exist the utmost accountability for the ramifications of the actions of the parties involved, including the engineers, architects and landlords.

Greater accountability and stricter obedience to the laws, rules and regulations regarding conversions and alterations would result in less dangerous emergency situations and rescue operations for first responders and and a less hazardous environment for those actually performing the construction-related work.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.7274

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Yet to be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the first November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 682 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the crime of illegal conversion or alteration of real property THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 145.75 to read as follows: S 145.75 ILLEGAL CONVERSION OR ALTERATION OF REAL PROPERTY. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF ILLEGAL CONVERSION OR ALTERATION OF REAL PROPER- TY WHEN: 1. HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY PARTICIPATED IN, OR IF HE OR SHE IS THE OWNER, MANAGER OR TENANT OF SUCH PROPERTY, OBSERVED OR WAS OTHERWISE AWARE OF THE ALTERATION OR CONVERSION OF SUCH PROPERTY IN VIOLATION OF ANY STATE OR LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE, CODE OR RULE OR REGULATION RELATING TO REAL PROPERTY, BUILDINGS OR MULTIPLE DWELLINGS; AND 2. THE ALTERATION OR CONVERSION CAUSES A SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR FATALITY TO ONE OR MORE PERSONS. ILLEGAL CONVERSION OR ALTERATION OF REAL PROPERTY IS A CLASS C FELONY; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT ILLEGAL CONVERSION OR ALTERATION OF REAL PROPER- TY THAT RESULTS IN FATALITY TO ONE OR MORE PERSONS IS A CLASS B FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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