New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Revealing Your Flood Risk

After the deluge. As of June 2023, state law requires all residential leases to include a document on the property’s previous flood history and current risk. This mandate includes co-op proprietary leases and any subleases and rental leases used in an association. The law defines flooding as excessive rainfall or storm surge, river overflow, or tidal inundation — that is, natural events, and not things like burst pipes or other internal problems. 


Sleuthing Required. It’s a burdensome task, but you’ll need to research your building’s history by going through its corporate and other records and consulting your insurance carrier and FEMA records for any claims made by prior boards or managing agents. Making things more difficult, the state has only an unofficial form for owners to use, and the law is a black hole because there’s no time frame as to how far back in history it applies. It’s also silent on the consequences if a board or landlord fails to comply. And it remains to be seen whether courts will grant tenants or owners the right to sue for money damages if they weren’t notified.

Course of action. For now at least, the best thing boards can do is introduce a resolution to amend the proprietary lease at a special meeting or the next annual meeting. If the resolution passes, the board can simply distribute the new lease to purchasers going forward, and it’s home free. If there aren’t sufficient votes, boards can use the unofficial form or create an internal one and then attach it to the existing proprietary lease, which will show an attempt at compliance. And remember, if the co-op or condo rents out any residential spaces, it will need to have the flood information on the lease also.

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