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City Hall
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-7116
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**                                                                                                             
January 9, 2013

Contact: (212) 788-7116
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Release #: 006-2013

Council Targets Root Causes of Repeat Housing Violations

Bill directs HPD to hold landlords accountable for fixing underlying causes of recurring violations
New York, NY- Today, the City Council will vote on legislation to allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to issue orders to property owners requiring them to repair underlying conditions that lead to repeat violations. Under the legislation – first proposed by Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in her 2012 State of the City address – property owners must comply with an order or face penalties.

Underlying Conditions Order

Underlying causes of housing violations can often go unidentified or unresolved, resulting in multiple violations of the same kind. Examples of these conditions include damaged roofs that cause water leaks and the presence of mold. Repeat violations, and the failure to correct an underlying condition related to a violation, can have a direct effect on a tenant’s quality of life, health and safety.

Currently, HPD issues violations for observed conditions, such as water damage, mold or lack of heat or hot water. This bill would allow the agency to go one step further when it is evident that a root cause must be addressed in order to truly correct a noted violation which has persisted and remains uncorrected.

Under the legislation, an owner will have four months to comply with an underlying conditions order, and must submit documentation as required by HPD demonstrating compliance with the order. HPD may grant a two-month extension period to complete the work.

If an owner fails to comply with an order, the agency may complete the work and seek civil penalties against the owner for lack of compliance. The civil penalty range for failure to comply with these orders would be $1,000 per unit affected by the order or a minimum of $5,000.

“Quick fixes to cover up systematic structural problems aren’t acceptable – we’re talking about people’s homes,” said Speaker Quinn. “Purely cosmetic repairs only worsen conditions for tenants, putting their health, safety and well-being at risk. This legislation will empower HPD inspectors to treat the cause – not just the symptom – of repeat violations. Now, instead of simply painting over water damage or doing patchwork, landlords must repair the hole in the roof that's causing it.”

“As any tenant who has had a leaky roof or mold problem in their apartment can attest, it takes more than a coat of paint to solve a serious problem,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “The bill we are voting on today sends a clear message to landlords that half-hearted, patchwork repairs are not good enough. My legislation will require landlords to repair the underlying conditions causing housing problems, which will improve the safety of our city’s housing stock and bring relief to long-suffering tenants. I want to thank Speaker Quinn and Chair Dilan for their assistance in moving this bill forward, and I look forward to working with my colleagues, HPD, tenants, and the advocacy community to make this legislation a success.”

“Int. No. 967 will allow HPD to issue orders to property owners requiring them to correct underlying conditions within a certain time frame or risk penalties for non-compliance,” said Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, Chair of the Committee on Housing & Buildings. “This bill is another example of the Council's ongoing commitment to ensuring that New Yorkers live in the best housing conditions as possible.”