senate Bill S3177

Permits tenants in certain cities to take a rental offset for repair of hazardous conditions

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 31 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Summary

Provides that in cities with a population of one million or more, a tenant or group of tenants, after proper notice to the landlord of the existence of a hazardous violation of housing codes and certification of the existence of such violation by the local agency charged with enforcement of housing codes, may contract for the repair of such condition and offset the price of such repair from his rental payments if the landlord fails to commence work to correct the condition within a certain period after notice is received.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S3177
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Housing, Construction And Community Development
Law Section:
Multiple Dwelling Law
Laws Affected:
Add §302-d, Mult Dwell L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S907
2009-2010: S3864

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3177

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation
to the right of tenants to offset payments for repairs of hazardous
conditions in certain cases in cities subject to such law

PURPOSE: To give tenants in cities subject to the multiple dwelling law
the right to repair hazardous violations in their buildings when the
building owner fails to meet his or her obligations.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Tenants acting alone or together with other
tenants in cities subject to the multiple dwelling law are given the
right to repair hazardous violations in their buildings and deduct the
cost of these repairs from their rents provided they comply with the
following conditions: 1) Notice of the violation by certified mail,
return receipt requested, is given to the landlord; and 2) (a) An imme-
diately hazardous "C" violation has been certified by the New York City
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and seven days
have passed since the tenants' written notice was offered for delivery
to the landlord without completion of repairs or commencement of repairs
and a provision in writing of a schedule for completion of repairs, or
(b) A hazardous "B" violation has been certified by HPD and 14 days have
passed since the tenant's written notice was offered for delivery to the
landlord without completion of repairs by the landlord or commencement
of repairs and a provision in writing of a schedule for completion of
repairs. If a tenant or group of tenants repair a violation without
hiring an outside contractor, they may deduct costs for materials. If a
tenant or group of tenants hire an outside contractor to perform repairs
they may deduct charges for materials and labor provided that reasonable
efforts are made to have the repair work done by qualified workmen at
prevailing rates. If a license to perform the repairs requested is
required by law, a tenant or group of tenants must hire an outside
licensed contractor. Tenants must receive a written statement itemizing
charges for parts and labor. An individual tenant may deduct a maximum
of one thousand dollars or two months rent, whichever is greater. Two or
more tenants may deduct a maximum of three thousand dollars, or up to
ten thousand dollars if additional notice and an itemized estimate is
first given to the landlord.

JUSTIFICATION: Repair and deduct is a logical extension of the warranty
of habitability. It provides an effective remedy for tenants whose
landlords do not live up to their legal obligation to keep their prem-
ises in good repair. The proposed legislation requires certification of
a hazardous violation by RPD and written notice to the landlord before
repairs are undertaken. Thus, it assures violations exist, and that the
landlord is given ample opportunity to correct the violation. Since
many defects worsen over time, it is also in the economic interest of
both the landlord and tenants to provide for prompt repair of building
violations. The repair and deduct concept has been enacted by statute
and judicial decision in more than 20 states. In New York, decisions
have affirmed a tenant's right to repair and deduct where reasonable

notice is given to the landlord and repairs are made at a reasonable
cost. Legislation enacted in 1980 allows tenants to buy fuel, and deduct
the cost from their rent, provided certain conditions are met. Thus,
there is ample precedent for the repair and deduct remedy.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately, with provisions.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3177

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 31, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. KRUEGER, SERRANO, STAVISKY -- 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 the right of
  tenants to offset payments for  repairs  of  hazardous  conditions  in
  certain cases in cities subject to such law

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The multiple dwelling  law  is  amended  by  adding  a  new
section 302-d to read as follows:
  S  302-D.  RIGHT OF TENANT TO OFFSET PAYMENTS FOR REPAIRS OF HAZARDOUS
CONDITIONS; CERTAIN CASES. 1. AS USED IN THIS  SECTION,  UNLESS  ANOTHER
MEANING CLEARLY APPEARS FROM THE CONTEXT:
  A.  "DEPARTMENT"  SHALL MEAN THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF A CITY WITH A
POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE THAT IS CHARGED  WITH  ENFORCEMENT  OF
HOUSING LAWS;
  B.  "HAZARDOUS  VIOLATION" SHALL MEAN A VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER, THE
CITY HOUSING MAINTENANCE CODE OR ARTICLE EIGHTEEN OF THE  EXECUTIVE  LAW
OR  THE RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO IDENTIFIED OR
CLASSIFIED BY THE CITY AS HAZARDOUS TO THE LIFE, HEALTH  AND  SAFETY  OF
THE OCCUPANTS OF A DWELLING;
  C.  "IMMEDIATELY  HAZARDOUS  VIOLATION" SHALL MEAN A VIOLATION OF THIS
CHAPTER, THE CITY HOUSING MAINTENANCE CODE OR ARTICLE  EIGHTEEN  OF  THE
EXECUTIVE  LAW OR THE RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO
IDENTIFIED OR CLASSIFIED BY THE CITY AS  IMMEDIATELY  HAZARDOUS  TO  THE
LIFE, HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE OCCUPANTS OF A DWELLING;
  D. "CITY" SHALL MEAN A CITY TO WHICH THIS CHAPTER APPLIES.
  2.  IN  A CITY, ANY TENANT ACTING ALONE OR TOGETHER WITH OTHER TENANTS
IN A MULTIPLE DWELLING, WHEREIN THERE EXISTS A CONDITION CONSTITUTING  A
HAZARDOUS  OR  IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS VIOLATION, MAY CONTRACT AND PAY FOR

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00958-01-3

S. 3177                             2

THE REPAIR OF SUCH CONDITION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS  OF  THIS
SECTION.
  3.  ANY  PAYMENT  SO  MADE SHALL BE DEDUCTIBLE FROM RENT PROVIDING THE
FOLLOWING PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIED WITH BY THE TENANT
OR HIS AGENT:
  A. THE LANDLORD OR HIS AGENT HAVE BEEN SENT NOTICE OF  SUCH  HAZARDOUS
OR  IMMEDIATELY  HAZARDOUS  VIOLATION  POSTED  BY CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN
RECEIPT REQUESTED.
  B. IN THE CASE OF AN IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS VIOLATION,  SUCH  VIOLATION
HAS  BEEN  CERTIFIED  BY THE DEPARTMENT AND SEVEN DAYS HAVE PASSED AFTER
WRITTEN NOTICE WAS FIRST OFFERED FOR DELIVERY BY THE POSTAL  SERVICE  TO
THE  LANDLORD OR HIS AGENT WITHOUT COMPLETION OF REPAIRS OR COMMENCEMENT
OF REPAIRS OF SUCH VIOLATION BY THE LANDLORD AND PROVISION IN WRITING TO
THE TENANT OF A REASONABLE SCHEDULE FOR COMPLETION OF SUCH REPAIRS.
  C. IN THE CASE OF A  HAZARDOUS  VIOLATION,  SUCH  VIOLATION  HAS  BEEN
CERTIFIED  BY  THE  DEPARTMENT AND THIRTY DAYS HAVE PASSED AFTER WRITTEN
NOTICE WAS FIRST OFFERED FOR DELIVERY BY THE POSTAL SERVICE TO THE LAND-
LORD OR HIS AGENT WITHOUT  COMPLETION  OF  REPAIRS  OR  COMMENCEMENT  OF
REPAIRS  OF  SUCH  VIOLATION BY THE LANDLORD AND PROVISION IN WRITING TO
THE TENANT OF A REASONABLE SCHEDULE FOR COMPLETION OF SUCH REPAIRS.
  4. WHEN A TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS CONTRACTS FOR REPAIR WORK  PURSU-
ANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS SHALL BE
MET:
  A.  IF A TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS DO NOT HIRE AN OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR,
THEY MAY DEDUCT COSTS FOR MATERIALS.
  B. IF A TENANT OR GROUP OF  TENANTS  HIRE  AN  OUTSIDE  CONTRACTOR  TO
PERFORM  REPAIRS  THEY  MAY  DEDUCT  CHARGES  FOR  MATERIALS  AND LABOR,
PROVIDED THAT REASONABLE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO HAVE THE REPAIR  WORK  DONE
BY QUALIFIED WORKMEN AT PREVAILING RATES.
  C.  TENANTS  MUST  RECEIVE  AN  ITEMIZED BILL FROM THE PERSON, FIRM OR
CORPORATION FROM WHOM MATERIALS OR LABOR ARE PURCHASED.
  D. WHERE A LICENSE TO PERFORM SERVICES IS REQUIRED BY LAW, A TENANT OR
GROUP OF TENANTS SHALL HIRE AN OUTSIDE LICENSED CONTRACTOR.
  E.  ANY  PERSON,  FIRM,  CORPORATION  OR  EMPLOYEE  THEREOF  PROVIDING
SERVICES  UNDER  THE  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  SECTION  MUST BE LICENSED TO
PERFORM THE REPAIRS REQUESTED BY A TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS,  WHERE  A
LICENSE TO PROVIDE SUCH SERVICES IS REQUIRED BY LAW.
  5.  THE  MAXIMUM  AMOUNT  OF MONEY AN INDIVIDUAL TENANT MAY DEDUCT FOR
REPAIR WORK UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE  ONE  THOUSAND
DOLLARS OR THE SUM OF TWO MONTHS RENT, WHICHEVER IS GREATER. THE MAXIMUM
AMOUNT  OF  MONEY  TWO  OR  MORE  TENANTS ACTING TOGETHER MAY DEDUCT FOR
REPAIR WORK FROM THEIR COMBINED  RENTS  UNDER  THE  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS
SECTION SHALL BE THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, SUCH MAXIMUM
AMOUNT  MAY  BE  TEN  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  IF  IN  ADDITION  TO  THE OTHER
PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE TENANTS HAVE POSTED BY  CERTIFIED  MAIL,
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, TO THE LANDLORD OR HIS AGENT AN ITEMIZED ESTI-
MATE  FOR  REPAIR  OF  AN  IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS VIOLATION PREPARED BY A
QUALIFIED PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION AND, WITHIN EIGHT DAYS, THE  LAND-
LORD  HAS NEITHER COMMENCED REPAIR WORK NOR PRESENTED A WRITTEN SCHEDULE
FOR REASONABLE COMPLETION OF THE REPAIR WORK  NECESSARY  TO  REMOVE  THE
IMMEDIATELY HAZARDOUS VIOLATION.
  6.  THE  INTRODUCTION INTO EVIDENCE IN ANY ACTION OR PROCEEDING OF ANY
STATEMENT RENDERED IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH  B  OF
SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE PRESUMPTIVE OF THE FACTS STAT-
ED  THEREIN.  SUFFICIENT  FOUNDATION  FOR THE ALLOWANCE INTO EVIDENCE OF
SUCH STATEMENT SHALL CONSIST OF THE ORAL TESTIMONY OF ANY  PERSON  NAMED

S. 3177                             3

AS  A  PAYER OF ALL OR PART OF THE AMOUNT INDICATED THEREON RELATING THE
FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THE STATEMENT WAS RENDERED.
  7.  ANY  TENANT  WHO  HAS  IN GOOD FAITH SECURED AND PAID FOR REPAIRS,
OTHERWISE IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION AND AGAINST
WHOM AN ACTION OR PROCEEDING TO RECOVER POSSESSION OF THE  PREMISES  FOR
NONPAYMENT  OF  RENT  OR  ANY OTHER ACTION OR PROCEEDING ATTRIBUTABLE AT
LEAST IN PART TO THE TENANT SEEKING OR TAKING A DEDUCTION FROM  RENT  AS
ALLOWED  BY  THIS  SECTION  SHALL,  IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER AMOUNTS, BE
ENTITLED TO RECOVER REASONABLE COSTS  AND  ATTORNEY'S  FEES  AGAINST  AN
OWNER BRINGING SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING.
  8.  NO  OWNER  OR  AGENT  SHALL  BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER ANY AMOUNTS IN
DAMAGES FROM ANY TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS WHO ATTEMPT  IN  GOOD  FAITH
AND ACT REASONABLY IN CARRYING OUT THE INTENDMENT OF THIS SECTION.
  9.  THE  REMEDY  PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE EXCLUSIVE AND A
COURT MAY PROVIDE SUCH OTHER RELIEF AS MAY BE JUST  AND  PROPER  IN  THE
CIRCUMSTANCES.  NOTHING  IN  THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT OR
DENY ANY EXISTING CONSTITUTIONAL, STATUTORY,  ADMINISTRATIVE  OR  COMMON
LAW RIGHT OF A TENANT TO CONTRACT AND PAY FOR ANY GOODS AND SERVICES FOR
SUCH  MULTIPLE DWELLING. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PRECLUDE
ANY DEFENSE, COUNTERCLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION ASSERTED BY A  TENANT  THAT
MAY  OTHERWISE  EXIST  WITH RESPECT TO AN OWNER'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE ANY
SERVICE.
  10. ANY AGREEMENT BY A TENANT OF A DWELLING WAIVING OR  MODIFYING  HIS
RIGHTS  AS SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE VOID AS CONTRARY TO PUBLIC
POLICY.
  11. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE LIBERALLY CONSTRUED SO  AS
TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE PURPOSE SET FORTH HEREIN.
  S  2.  This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
in any city which has not heretofore made the  classifications  referred
to in paragraphs b and c of subdivision 1 of section 302-d of the multi-
ple  dwelling  law, as added by section one of this act such classifica-
tions shall be made within six months of the effective date of this  act
and  this act shall not be deemed to take effect in such city until such
classifications are made.

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