An Edited Excerpt from the 2023 New York City Apartment Management Checklist
The anticipation of a gas-leak inspection is a worrisome event for most buildings. Not the inspection per se, but the prospect of finding a gas leak. If one is found, a building could face months without gas for cooking or heating, bills that can mount into the hundreds of thousands, and angry and inconvenienced building residents.
Here is a simplified and edited version of what the law requires, how to comply and the penalties if the rules aren’t followed. You may be surprised to see the rules about stove knob covers in this chapter, but they fall under the gas law. Last year the law clarifying knob responsibilities was amended, and we have included a box explaining the changes.
We have pulled this chapter from the “2023 New York City Apartment Management Checklist,” published by The Habitat Group (a division of Habitat magazine), which provides a complete set of rules, regulations, forms and compliance steps for the myriad of confusing laws that govern your building. Each chapter is also available in a digital version. Consider giving a copy of the “Checklist” to your building’s superintendent so he or she will have — in plain English — the what, when and how of each of the city’s building regulations and requirements.
Who Is Affected
All owners of buildings, including multifamily homes, containing tenant-occupied dwellings must notify tenants of procedures to take when a natural gas leak is suspected.
Owners of buildings containing three or more dwelling units that have gas piping systems must inspect gas lines periodically and report results to the Dept. of Buildings (DOB).
What the Law Requires
Gas leak detection procedure. Under Local Law 153 of 2016, effective June 4, 2017, and accompanying rules of the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) effective Oct. 18, 2017, owners must notify residential tenants through individual notices and a notice posted in a building’s common area about proper procedures to follow in the event of a suspected gas leak.
Natural gas detection alarms. At press time, under Local Law 157 of 2016, the Dept. of Buildings (DOB) is expected to adopt a standard governing the installation and location of single- or multiple-station natural gas detection alarms in residential buildings that will result, effective May 1 in the year following DOB’s adoption of such rule, in requirements set forth in the December 2016 law for installation and replacement of natural gas detecting devices in residential buildings.
Gas shut-off notification. Under Local Law 154 of 2016, starting in late 2017 utility companies and building owners each must notify DOB if gas is shut off at a building due to safety concerns and not restored within 24 hours. DOB may issue rules outlining how DOB is to be notified.
Gas piping inspection requirements. Local Law 152 of 2016 added NYC Admin. Code §28-318.1 to require both initial and subsequent inspection of gas piping systems every four years, as well as reporting of these inspections to DOB. The law does not apply to buildings containing no more than two dwelling units. Buildings without gas piping systems must file a certification stating that the building contains no such system.
Effective March 21, 2022, and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020, Local Law 138/2021 amended and added Admin. Code provisions to expand exceptions to rules requiring periodic inspection of building gas piping systems to include buildings that contain gas piping but that were not currently supplied with gas. LL 138/2021 also amended provisions concerning reporting and correction of unsafe natural gas conditions.
Rules added in 2019 by DOB under 1 RCNY §103-10 concerning periodic inspection of gas piping systems were amended effective Oct. 22, 2022, to provide as follows:
- DOB changed the submission due dates specified in paragraph (a)(2) and cycle start dates of the periodic inspection schedule in paragraph (a)(3) so that there is sufficient time for compliance before the rule’s anticipated effective date.
- DOB reconfigured the submission due dates in paragraph (a)(2) and periodic inspection schedule in paragraph (a)(3) based on community district, rather than borough. This change is intended to enable utility companies to more effectively allocate resources among service areas in response to reports of unsafe or hazardous conditions following inspections.
- DOB reconfigured the submission due dates in paragraph (a)(2) and periodic inspection schedule in paragraph (a)(3) to recur every fourth calendar year, instead of every fifth year. This change was made in order to better align the frequency of periodic inspection cycles with the requirement that inspections occur at least once every five years.
- DOB reconfigured the submission due dates in paragraph (a)(2) and periodic inspection schedule in paragraph (a)(3) to consist of four cycles, rather than five. This change was made to better align the frequency of periodic inspection cycles with the requirement that inspections occur at least once every five years.
- As amended, the rules now specify that the term “new building” in paragraph (a)(4) means a building, or any portion thereof, approved for occupancy by DOB after Dec. 31, 2019, instead of 2018. This change was made in light of the anticipated effective date of the rule.
- DOB added, in paragraph (d)(1)(ii), certain conditions and information required to be included in the inspection report. This addition was made to provide clarity with respect to inspection reporting requirements.
2023 Inspection Dates
DOB rules implementing LL152 require that, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, gas piping inspections have different due dates, depending on the Community District number in the respective borough location. Initial inspections must take place, as scheduled by prescribed dates, between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2023, and thereafter gas piping must be inspected every four years. For 2023, buildings located in community districts 11, 12, 14, 15, and 17 in all boroughs must be inspected.
Stove knob covers. Under Local Law 44 of 2022 (an amendment to Local Law 117 of 2018), owners of dwelling units in multiple dwellings (except for units owned as condominiums or cooperatives and used as a primary residence) must provide stove knob covers or permanent stove safety knobs with integrated locking mechanisms for gas-powered stoves to tenants whom the owner knows or reasonably should know has a child under 6 years of age residing with them. An exception to this requirement applies if the owner can demonstrate that there is no available stove knob cover that is compatible with the knobs on the stove.
HOW TO COMPLY
Gas leak safety procedure notification. Owners must deliver a notice detailing proper procedures in the event of a suspected natural gas leak to every tenant and prospective tenant of all tenant-occupied units.
Owners must also post a notice detailing the proper procedures in the event of a suspected natural gas leak in a common area of the building. The notice may be posted alongside any other existing notices and must be maintained.
The notice should:
- Instruct tenants who suspect a gas leak to quickly open nearby doors and windows, then leave the building;
- Instruct tenants who suspect a gas leak not to turn appliances on or off, not to smoke or light cigarettes, and not to use a house or cell phone within the building;
- Instruct tenants to call 911 immediately after leaving the building upon suspicion of a gas leak; and
- Instruct tenants to then notify the building’s gas provider, whose name and contact phone number must be listed on the notice.
The current emergency contact number for buildings serviced by Con Edison is 1-800-752-6633. The current emergency contact number for buildings serviced by National Grid is 1-718-643-4050. The applicable phone number should be filled in by the owner on any notice given to tenants or posted in a building. HPD has clarified that the notice may also advise tenants to contact the owner, manager, or super of the building after contacting 911 and the gas provider.
Gas leak detectors. Although new law and regulation provisions concerning the installation and replacement of natural gas leak detectors in residential buildings have been issued, at press time they have not yet gone into effect because required specifications for these devices have not yet been determined.
Gas piping inspections and certifications. LL152/2016 requires gas piping inspection once every four years. Gas line inspectors hired by building owners must submit to the owner within 30 days a report on this required inspection. The owner in turn must electronically submit to DOB a certification from its inspector within 90 days of the inspection due date. Within 120 days after the inspection due date, the owner must submit to DOB a certification that any identified conditions have been corrected. If additional time to correct is needed, the owner must submit certification within 180 days after the inspection due date.
This law does not apply to buildings that contain no more than two dwelling units. Buildings without gas piping systems must file a certification stating that the building contains no such system.
Gas piping inspections can be performed only by either a DOB-licensed master plumber or someone “with at least five…years of full-time experience working under the direct and continuing supervision of a licensed master plumber” who has successfully completed a seven-hour training course offered by an approved provider.
Among other things, DOB makes explicit that only meters, exposed piping, and connections in “public” (that is, common) areas of buildings need to be inspected, and not piping, connections, appliances, or anything else within tenants’ apartments.
DOB’s guidelines point out that, after determining if the gas piping system inspection requirement applies to a building and discovering that a building does not contain gas piping, an owner must submit to DOB a Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Certification, signed and sealed by a Registered Design Professional (that is, a NYS licensed professional engineer or registered architect).
If a building does contain gas piping, the piping system must be inspected by a licensed master plumber or other qualified individual, who must submit a Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Report to the building owner within 30 days of inspection. The owner must then submit to DOB a Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Certification signed and sealed by the plumber who conducted or supervised the inspection, through DOB’s online portal at: https://a810-efiling.nyc.gov/eRenewal/loginER.jsp
If the Inspection Certification submitted to DOB indicates that conditions requiring correction were identified during the gas piping inspection, owners must submit to DOB within 120 days of the inspection an additional certification signed and sealed by the plumber who conducted the inspection, stating that the conditions have been corrected. If this certification indicates that additional time is needed to correct the conditions identified, the owner must submit to DOB within 180 days of inspection and additional inspection certification signed and sealed by the plumber who conducted the inspection, stating that the conditions have been corrected. Correction of conditions must be performed in compliance with NYC Construction Codes and any required work permits must be obtained.
The signed and sealed GPS2: Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Certification form must be submitted through the online portal at: www.nyc.gov/DOBgaspipecert
Under rules amended in 2022, for certification that a building does not provide gas service, information to be submitted to DOB includes the last date when gas was supplied to the building, the date upon which gas service was no longer provided to the building, and a signed statement from the building owner containing a certification that the building no longer receives gas services as well as a certification the building no longer contains appliances connected to gas piping.
Stove knob covers. An owner of a unit in a multiple dwelling, other than a co-op or condo unit being used as the owner’s primary residence, shall provide their tenant the option of either permanent stove safety knobs with integrated locking mechanisms or stove knob covers in each unit where the owner knows or reasonably should know a child under six years of age resides. An exception can be made if the owner has documented proof that there is no option that is compatible with the particular stove in the unit. These permanent stove safety knobs or stove knob covers shall be made available within 30 days of the tenant’s request after receiving the annual notice required by law.
Gas leak detection notice. The requirement to post and maintain a common area notice concerning suspected gas leak procedures is ongoing. Effective June 4, 2017, individual copies of the gas leak procedure notice must be included with vacancy leases to prospective tenants, or with renewal leases to current tenants.
Gas piping inspection. The date ranges for initial and follow-up gas piping inspections are:
- Jan. 1–Dec.31, 2020: Community Districts, 1, 3, and 10 in all boroughs, and no later than Dec. 31 within every fourth calendar year thereafter, although the deadline for initial inspections in these Community Districts only was extended to June 30, 2021;
- Jan. 1–Dec.31, 2021, and no later than Dec. 31 within every fourth calendar year thereafter, Community Districts 2, 5, 7, 13, and 18 in all boroughs; although the deadline for initial inspections in these Community Districts has been extended to June 30, 2022;
- Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2022, and no later than Dec. 31 within every fourth calendar year thereafter, Community Districts 4, 6, 8, 9, and 16 in all boroughs;
- Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2023, and no later than Dec. 31 within every fourth calendar year thereafter, Community Districts 11, 12, 14, 15, and 17 in all boroughs.
To identify the Community District in which a building is located, search by address: https://communityprofiles.planning.nyc.gov
Gas piping inspection certification. Hired plumbers must submit a Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Report to a building owner within 30 days of inspection. The owner must then submit to DOB within 120 days of inspection a System Periodic Inspection Certification signed and sealed by the plumber who conducted or supervised the inspection. If this certification indicates that additional time is needed to correct the conditions identified, the owner must submit to DOB within 180 days of inspection an additional inspection certification of correction signed and sealed by the plumber who conducted the inspection.
Stove knob covers. If a tenant requests stove knob covers or safety knobs with integrated locking mechanisms after receiving notification, they must be provided within 30 days. Owners who fail to provide stove knob covers as required will be liable for a class B hazardous violation, unless there is no available compatible stove knob cover for the tenant’s stove or the owner already has fulfilled two requests for replacements within the previous year.
Failure to file the Gas Piping System Periodic Inspection Certification on or before the filing due date will result in a civil penalty of $10,000.
A sample notice instructing tenants of procedures to follow in the event of suspected gas leaks, provided by HPD, is as follows:
The law requires the owner of the premises to advise tenants that when they suspect that a gas leak has occurred, they should take the following actions:
- Quickly open nearby doors and windows and then leave the building immediately; do not attempt to locate the leak. Do not turn on or off any electrical appliances, do not smoke or light matches or lighters, and do not use a house-phone or cell-phone within the building;
- After leaving the building, from a safe distance away from the building, call 911 immediately to report the suspected gas leak;
- After calling 911, call the gas service provider for this building as follows:
Tel. No. ___________________________
- After completing steps 1–3, contact your management company, building staff, or super at [insert tel. #] to notify them of the suspected leak.
The forms required for gas piping inspection report and certification are as follows:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION