The Real Deal New York

City Council passes bills on landlord transparency, construction penalties

Many of the measures voted on Tuesday will regulate the NY real estate industry
By Will Parker | December 19, 2017 06:26PM

From left: Queens Hospital Center T Building, Melissa Mark Viverito, David Greenfield and a storage facility

UPDATED: Dec. 20., @ 5:11 p.m.: New York City Council passed several bills Tuesday that will affect real estate and housing in the five boroughs. Those include rezonings, new regulations for self-storage and for the department of Housing Preservation and Development to create a data portal for New Yorkers to see all properties owned by individual owners along with violations and tenant harassment data for each building.

The outgoing City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito opened comments on the bills by saying she had “no regrets” about her time in the position and looked forward to civilian life.

The Council then voted on dozens of bills including many that will regulate the real estate industry in New York:

Self-Storage

Developers of self-storage facilities will now have to go to the city for a special permit to build on in the majority of New York’s manufacturing zones. The permits would require council votes.

Landlord Data

The Council passed a bill requiring HPD to collect information on vacant buildings that might be suitable for affordable housing. It also passed a bill asking HPD to do something perhaps more ambitious: create a comprehensive website for New Yorkers to get up to date information on every city landowner, the buildings they own and information about tenant harassment and building violations at each property. Another bill calls for the creation of an affordable housing portfolio to keep track of the city’s regulated housing units.

Construction

There will be new penalties of up to $500,000 for companies for construction accidents that result in serious injury and death. Public notice must be given any time a drilling project in certain areas goes as deep as 50 feet and a measure passed to make construction noise complaints attended to more expeditiously. Other bills that were introduced, but not voted on, included measures to create new penalties for those who fail to report construction fatalities, a requirement for construction companies to give the city detailed reports about scheduled construction activities months in advance, and a mandate for drug and alcohol testing of construction workers at certain job sites.

Affordable Housing

The Council voted to require community land trusts to enter regulatory agreements with the city ensuring long-term affordability. Council member Donovan Richards said the bill is set on “taking power away from speculators” before the floor vote. The Council also voted to allow Dunn Development to lease land at the Queens Hospital Center to build 206 units of affordable housing. 

Energy efficiency

A new bill requires buildings of more than 20,000 square feet to post energy efficiency scores and grades near the entrances of their buildings.

Rezonings

The final vote of the year saw a number of rezonings pass. Zoning changes for tax exemptions were greenlit at 1965 Lafayette Avenue and 1776 Eastchester Road in the Bronx, as well as a rezoning that will allow L+M Development Partners TRData LogoTINY to team up with the National Black Theater to build affordable housing.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated which construction-related bills passed the City Council vote.