The last City Council meeting of 2023 brought new requirements for unoccupied units in NYC. Here’s what you need to know:
Inspections In Unoccupied Units
A new bill will require HPD to reach out to owners of multiple dwellings that have complaints about conditions in unoccupied units that may “be the cause of a hazardous or immediately hazardous condition in an occupied dwelling unit.” Some examples of these conditions include pests, leaks, “accumulation of refuse,” unsecured openings, mold, or inadequate firestopping.
Per the law, unoccupied units are defined as “a dwelling unit that is not occupied for permanent residence or temporary residence purposes.” Additionally, new text added to the administrative code requires owners to keep all unoccupied dwelling units in “good repair.”
Owners would be required to schedule an HPD inspection of the unoccupied unit within 21 days of contact from the department. HPD would then perform an inspection using a pre-set checklist, and issue violations for hazardous or immediately hazardous conditions (B and C class issues).
HPD’s Inspection Checklist
Items on the inspection checklist align mostly with potential issues listed above:
- Unsecured openings;
- Inadequate firestopping;
- Leaks, defective plumbing, and mold;
- Indications of the presence of any pests;
- Accumulation of refuse; and
- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
That said, inspection guidelines are not limited to the above. While inspections will include these conditions, violations may also be issued for other issues going against the housing code. Additionally, lawful occupants of the specific multifamily property can now apply for an order directing access to HPD inspectors/officers for correcting violating conditions.
You can see the full legislative package here – just remember when reviewing documents that the final rule passed was version B.
INT 195-B was passed sent to the Mayor’s Desk on December 6th. If it goes unsigned, it’ll automatically become law in early January, and (per the law), become effective 210 days later — several months into 2024.
As with many laws passed by the City Council, HPD may now pass rules regarding the promulgation of the law. Rules can help clarify how inspections actually work – including the real-life inspection process and any related forms, contact information, or helpful resources. They may also clarify any penalties or enforcement specifics, if applicable.
With that, stay tuned over the next several months before this law officially goes into effect for any updates and clarifications.