The new year has brought two new laws that need to be on the radar of all co-op and condo boards and their property managers. The first, Intro 385, also known as the Ashthma-Free Housing Act, requires all New York City building owners to conduct an annual inspection and then rid their buildings of any problems like mold, vermin, or water leaks. If resident complaints or violations are filed, the law gives boards the right to enter apartments to search for allergens. The law has wide backing among pubic health advocates, but it was opposed by the Real Estate Board of New York. The legislation was driven by concerns over respiratory ailments, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Nationally, about 9 percent of children suffer from asthma; in some low-income New York neighborhoods, the rate is as high as 25 percent.
The second law, Intro 978, addresses the process of ridding buildings of a prime allergen, mold. It amends the state law that went into effect on January 1, 2016, which established training, licensing, and minimum work standards for people performing mold assessment and remediation. The state law exempts certain workers from licensing requirements, including residential property owners and their staffs who perform assessment, remediation, and abatement on their own property. Under Intro 978, licensed contractors will now be needed to remediate any mold infestation in New York City that’s larger than 10 square feet.
Although buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) were a prime target of the legislation when it was first proposed in 2015, NYCHA buildings are not covered in the version of Intro 978 that has become law.