New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




City Council passes bill to inspect residential buildings for structural risks

The Bronx

Building inspections, collapse, Department of Buildigns, co-op and condo boards.

The building at 1915 Billingsley Terrace before the corner apartments collapsed.

June 21, 2024

Move over, Local Law 11. You've got company.

The New York City Council has passed a bill requiring residential buildings, including co-ops and condos, to undergo routine inspections based on their structural risks. The bill supplements the Facade Inspection and Safety Program, formerly known as Local Law 11, which requires all buildings taller than six stories to undergo inspections and necessary repairs every five years.

The new bill, Intro. 904-A, is sponsored by Councilmember Pierina Sanchez (D-Bronx) in response to the partial collapse of a seven-story apartment building at 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx in December. No one died, but more than 150 people lost thier homes in the collapse, which came in the wake of a parking garage collapse in lower Manhattan in 2023 that killed one person and injured five.

Intro, 904-A requires the city Department of Buildings (DOB) to establish a proactive inspection program for identifying potentially hazardous buildings through predictive data analytics, including code violation and compliance history and engineering professionals’ disciplinary records.

The bill states: "The owner of a building that receives a notice of violation as a result of the risk-based inspection program shall submit and post a corrective action plan within 10 days, and shall be precluded from receiving any non-emergency permits until all façade defects are corrected. Violations issued as a result of the risk-based inspection program shall be corrected within 30 days. The department shall impose escalating penalties for any violation centered on an unsafe condition that was present during the prior façade inspection program cycle."

While the bill appears unlikely to burden co-op and condo boards with upfront costs, it will add another layer of enforcement on buildings' structural integrity that could add substantial costs in the future.

Sanchez tells Gothamist that the Billingsley Terrace collapse spurred her to draw up the new legislation. “There were warning signs here," she says. "(The DOB) had issued over 350 violations in this building. Eighty-three alone were in 2023. Many of these were class C and class B violations, which means that they were dangerous to the health and safety of the residents.”

Residents interviewed by Gothamist at the building right after the collapse said rats, leaks and visible cracks in the walls were normal, and it often took weeks for any issues to be addressed. The Legal Aid Society is representing tenants in a lawsuit against the building’s owner, David Kleiner.

“If we're honing in on the worst actors, then maybe we're catching things a little bit earlier,” Sanchez says of her new bill. “Maybe that heightened scrutiny doesn't allow them to hire whoever is more likely to make a mistake. So this is really about elevating the standard of how we're taking care of our buildings.”

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?