Treble Damage Trouble

Governor Cuomo, Wednesday, claimed that almost 2,000 buildings with 50,000 apartments have failed to register as rent stabilized despite receiving J-51 benefits. Letters are being sent to the owners. If you receive such a letter and your building is properly registered or you don’t have a J-51, please let us know. Owners who are in violation and receive the letter can avoid treble damages by registering immediately.

Coincidentally, this morning, the New York Post reported an $876,619.10 overcharge award to a Central Park West tenant, including treble damages, in a case where the owner deregulated a unit in a building receiving J-51 tax incentives.

The City Council Housing Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday, January 14th, on raising the minimum required daytime temperature from 68 to 72 degrees and the nighttime minimum from 55 to 65. The requirements would apply regardless of outside temperature. We oppose the measure noting that achieving a minimum of 72 degrees in every apartment will result in gross overheating of many units and increases in greenhouse gases. The committee will also consider a bill requiring all single occupancy toilets to be unisex.

Public advocate Letitia James had two housing-related bills introduced in the City Council this week. The first would prohibit the issuance of building permits to buildings with large numbers of violations, although it is not clear how owners are supposed to improve buildings without permits. The second would add the Public Advocate to a long list of public officials who can already ask the City Corporation Counsel to sue building owners for nuisance.

The Buildings Department, meanwhile, is trying to make it easier for owners to get sign-offs on work done with a new online “Inspection Ready” request system.

Longtime NY State Senate Housing Committee Chair Catherine Young is taking over the Senate Finance Committee and the new Housing Chair will be Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury. Little has not served on the Housing Committee before.

CHIP and ABO are sponsoring a new Registered in Apartment Management class beginning January 19th. Contact for details.

The latest exhibitor to sign up for our BuildingsNY trade show May 24-25th is Con Edison.

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