New York City law would increase tenants’ rights

A bill being presented by three New York City Council members is aiming to compel landlords to fix underlying conditions that cause problems like mold in apartment buildings. In January 2013, a law was passed that required landlords to fix underlying issues that resulted in mold on walls and ceilings. However, only 69 buildings have been targeted since the law passed, and lawmakers say that there are only enough resources to target about 50 buildings a year with underlying issues orders.

The new law would allow tenants to take their landlords to court to force them to make repairs. One of the lawmakers on the bill said that while the original law was a good start, he suspected that there were more than 50 apartment buildings with mold issues in a city with 3.5 million apartments.

In many cases, the landlords are merely given orders to bring apartments back to code. However, this typically results in landlords painting over the mold, which results in the mold reappearing. Water leaks are cited as the biggest cause of mold, and water can get into plaster and cause ceilings to collapse in addition to the mold growth. Despite the lack of underlying issues orders, a representative from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board said that the city had good intentions by passing the original legislation.

Property owners are generally required to provide safe conditions for anyone on their property. This may include providing a living space for tenants that is free from mold that could cause health issues. If a landlord or property owner does not meet his or her obligations under the law, it may be worthwhile to talk to a premises liability attorney. An attorney may be able to help an individual pursue compensation for negligence as well as compensation for injuries that result from owner negligence.

Source: NY Daily News, “City Councilmen push bill to compel negligent landlords to make repairs“, Greg B. Smith, November 12, 2014