In recent years, the New York City area has been increasingly affected by severe storms. The multi-day loss of power and extreme flooding from Superstorm Sandy exceeded most emergency scenarios and as a result, few buildings or residents had plans for managing the emergency conditions before, during or after the storm. Many buildings suffered damage that could have been prevented, or from which they could have recovered more quickly, with the benefit of advance planning. In response, amendments to the Administrative Code of the City of New York were enacted to help the City better prepare for future storms. This memorandum highlights the important aspects of the new laws and suggests ways your building can prepare for upcoming storms.
The new laws became effective on May 18, 2014. They amend the Administrative Code of the City of New York to add Sections §30-113 and §27 -2051.1 creating a two-pronged approach to emergency planning by requiring: (1) the creation of emergency preparedness recommendations for residential and commercial building owners, and (2) the posting of emergency information in ceratin residential buildings.
Click to download the complete Emergency Preparedness Recommendations for Residential Buildings Memorandum, prepared and provided by Schechter & Brucker, P.C.
§ 28-316.1 Required insulation of certain concealed piping exposed during alteration or repair. Where concealed existing piping is exposed in the course of the alteration or repair of a building, the owner of the building shall provide for the insulation of the exposed piping. The exposed piping shall be insulated to the extent required by the New York city energy conservation code for newly installed pipe of the same specifications and serving the same function as the exposed pipe. The entire exposed length of the piping shall be insulated as well as any further length of concealed pipe that can be directly accessed through openings made in the course of such alteration or repair.
1. Exposed pipe with one-inch (25-mm) thick continuous coverage of existing insulation in good condition.
2. Where the length of concealed pipe which may be directly accessed through openings made in the course of such alteration or repair is less than three feet (914 mm).
3. Where there is not sufficient space to insulate pipes to the extent required by the New York city energy conservation code due to conflicts with existing construction, pipes shall be insulated to the extent that space allows.
§2. This local law shall take effect October 1, 2014, except that this local law shall not apply to construction work related to applications for construction document approval filed prior to such effective date, and except that the commissioner of buildings may take such measures as are necessary for its implementation, including the promulgation of rules, prior to such effective date.
The Realty Advisory Board has tentatively reached an agreement with SEIU Local 32BJ for a renewal of the residential building workers contract that is set to expire on April 20, 2014. The deal covers more than 30,000 residential building service employees, including doormen, porters, handymen and building superintendents, who work in more than 3,000 residential rentals, co-ops and condos. The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the Board of Directors of the Realty Advisory Board and the membership of the Union, processes that will occur over the next few weeks.
The tentative agreement was reached an unprecedented nine days before it was set to expire on April 20. That is great news for owners and managers, not to mention all the New Yorkers who reside in our buildings.
Today’s announcement is the result of months of planning and several weeks of meetings between RAB and the Union. Our negotiating committee spent long hours working through extremely difficult issues. Though we have a very positive working relationship with the Union, we didn’t start on the same page. We believe the final result, after much back and forth, is a fair and equitable contract that reflects today’s economic realities while protecting the long-term health of our industry.
While the complete details of the agreement will be announced after ratification, the broad financial parameters of the tentative deal are:
- An average wage increase of 2.71% each year over the four year contract, or approximately 11.3% total—bringing wages for a typical doormen or porter from $44,389 to $49,402 in 2018.
- There is a 3.4% total average annual increase for wages plus benefits.
To help offset these costs, our negotiating committee was able to deliver a modified start rate for new employees and several other key measures to enhance employer flexibility.
CNYC Executive Director Mary Ann Rothman and FNYHC Executive Director Greg Carlson serve on the negotiating committee. We will provide any updates as they are announced.
The contract between owners and operators of residential apartment buildings in New York City and Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union will expire on April 20, 2014. With the potential for a strike of Local 32BJ after that day (if a new contract is not renegotiated), Boards need to take action now to ensure that they are prepared to meet the challenges that a work stoppage will bring. In this memorandum, we discuss specific suggestions that will help your building meet the needs of its residents in the event of a strike.
Contrary to the memo we sent on Tuesday, the NYC Department of Finance is NOT requiring every co-op or condo renew their benefits.
ONLY CERTAIN CONDO BOARDS MUST FILE BY FEBRUARY 18TH
The Department of Finance conducted a small audit of less than 1% of the co-op/condo units and asked those unit owners to renew their benefits if the unit is their primary residence. This required a new form, which is the Condo Renewal Form. ONLY those condo units that received the audit letter AND are eligible for the benefit must file.
In addition, condo boards can use this form to report changes in eligibility, such as a commercial unit like a doctor’s office that is converted to a residential unit which the owner use as their primary residence or a condo owner purchasing a four unit in the development, making all four units ineligible.
The Condo reporting form has been revised so that there are only two section, A and B. Section A should be completed by the condo owner and Section B by the managing agent/board.
COOPERATIVES FILE AS IN THE PAST
As in years past, DoF is simply asking co-ops to correct any discrepancies in the data in its Co-op Tax Benefit Letter, sent in December to the contact entity for all participating cooperatives (usually the managing agent). NOTE THAT co-op shareholders who recently received letters from DoF and whose cooperatives are their primary residence must make sure that management knows this and includes this information on the Correction form. The Co-op Tax Benefit Change Form is due February 18, 2014 and it CAN be signed by management.
Please accept our deepest apologies for our prior errors.
Forms and guidance can be found at:
The recent Sandy Bill passed by the City Council are just the framework of what is to come. At this moment of time, no one know if these bills pretend to help everyone or those in the FEMA 100-year flood zone. These bills will now progress to have regulations written. Once the regulations are vented, then we will know who and how we are affected. In addition there is a long period of eight (8) to thirty (30) years for compliance.
Executive Director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums, Gregory J. Carlson, was elected President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC). The election was held on November 2, 2013 at the NAHC Annual Conference.
The National Association of Housing Cooperatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit national federation of housing cooperatives, mutual housing associations, other resident-owned or controlled housing, professionals, organizations, and individuals interested in promoting the interests of cooperative housing communities. Incorporated in 1960, NAHC is the only national cooperative housing organization. NAHC’s mission is to support and educate existing and new cooperative housing communities as the best and most economical form of homeownership.
The City recently amended the New York City Administrative Code with respect to the filing of Real Property Income and Expense (RPIE) statements with the Department of Finance (DOF). In a key change, the filing deadline was pushed up to June I from September I, beginning with next year’s RPIE filing. The deadline was moved up to allow the DOF more time to do a better job of valuing properties.
Because of the earlier filing date, the fiscal year filing option was also adjusted. Owners have the option to complete the RPIE statements based on information from the previous calendar year or the previous fiscal year. The fiscal year option will now conclude on May I of the year in which the RPIE is filed (moved up from August I).
The law amending the RPIE deadline (Local Law 52 of 2013) also clarifies that owners who have not held a property for an entire year (fiscal or calendar, depending in the owner’s filing option) are not required to file an RPIE statement for that property in that filing year. Owners who fall under this exception must file a claim of exemption with the DOF. Failure to file the claim of exemption will result in a monetary penalty.
Despite creating a more hectic schedule for owners, the law includes additional provisions aimed at creating greater transparency regarding the way RPIE statements are used by the DOF in determining a property’s market value. Currently, an owner submits the RPIE statement and a few months later is provided with a notice of property value, without any information from the DOF regarding how and to what extent the various components of the RPIE statement were used or adjusted by the DOF in valuing the property. But under the new law, the DOF must post the following information on its web site:
- A distribution by relevant geographies and building types of the factors used in determining market values, such as incomes, expenses, and rates of capitalization. The distribution should provide, at a minimum, the first, second and third quartiles of such factors;
- Specific formulas, data sources, and values used to determine the rates of capitalization for real property valuation;
- Average values and changes of incomes and expenses, as reflected on the statements required to be filed;
- A statistical summary of the changes in the total market value and assessed value for each property tax class and property category from the assessment roll of the previous year;
- A statistical summary of equalization and non-equalization changes from the assessment roll of the previous year; and
- The method of valuation used for each property listed on the estimate of the assessed valuation of real property subject to taxation for the ensuing fiscal year, and the information used to determine such valuation.
- Another positive part of the new law provides owners with an opportunity to cure the failure to file an RPIE statement or claim of exemption prior to the imposition of penalties for such failure to file. Any penalties are considered a lien against the property.
- Also noteworthy are some items that were proposed as part of the legislation but were omitted from the final law. The proposed legislation required RPIE statements to be certified by a CPA.an additional step that would have increased costs for owners. Further, when the legislation was proposed in 2012, the changes were intended to apply to the 2012 RPIE being filed in 2013. CHIPEs lobbying efforts were able to remove the certification requirement and ensure that the bill was not rushed through the legislative process. CHIPE’s efforts were also key in solidifying the requirement to provide owners an opportunity to cure, a provision that was at the commissioner’s option in the originally proposed legislation.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) has adopted a rule to regulate the inspections of and filing requirements for retaining walls. Among other things, the rule creates staggered inspection cycles, requires the performance of close-up inspections, and specifies timelines and other details with respect to the performance of and reporting requirements for retaining wall inspections.
According to the New York City Construction Code, a retaining wall is “a wall that resists lateral pressures and limits lateral displacement caused by soil, rock, water or other materials, except that basement and vault walls that are part of a building, underground structures, including but not limited to utility vault structures, tunnels, transit stations and swimming pools, shall not be considered retaining walls.” Owners of property that contain retaining walls with a height of 10 feet or more and which front a public right-of-way are required to have a condition assessment inspection of each qualifying retaining wall at least once every five years conducted by a registered design professional, with the results of such inspection filed with the DOB. The code authorizes the DOB to impose and set filing fees for the reports, and permits the DOB to regulate the inspection process.
A summary of the DOB’s rule, which is now in effect, appears below, but due to the technical nature of the information, owners or their engineers should review the rule in its entirety to ensure compliance with all the requirements.
DOB Rule on Retaining Wall Inspections
Filing fees. Filing fees for retaining wall assessment reports are as follows: $355 for an initial filing, $ 130 for an amended filing, and $260 for an application for an extension of time to complete repairs.
Inspector qualifications. Only a licensed engineer with three years of relevant experience can perform the inspection and issue the assessment report.
Inspection and reporting. The condition assessment plan must be submitted to the DOB for approval at least 90 days prior to implementation. The DOB rule identifies the elements of the retaining wall that must be assessed and the type of information that must be included in the report. The assessment report must include a detailed description of the overall rating and the factors used to assign the rating.
Assessment reports must be filed within 60 days from the completion of the condition assessment, but not more than one year after the close-up inspection of the retaining wall was performed. If the DOB rejects an assessment report, a revised report must be filed within 45 days of the rejection. Failure to submit a revised report within one year of the initial filing will require the performance of a new condition assessment of the retaining wall (including a new close-up assessment).
Safety ratings. The ratings for retaining walls are safe, safe with minor repairs or maintenance, safe with repairs and/or engineering monitoring, or unsafe.
Retaining walls found to be unsafe must be reported by first calling 31I and then calling the DOB with the 311 complaint number within 24 hours of discovering the unsafe condition. Repairs and other appropriate measures must be commenced immediately.
Staggered cycles. The staggered reporting cycles will begin January I, 20l4.The cycles are determined by borough, with properties in the Bronx being required to file an acceptable assessment report in calendar year 2014, properties in Manhattan must file in 2015, properties in Staten Island must file in 2016, properties in Queens must file in 2017, and properties in Brooklyn must file in 2018.
Penalties. Failure to file an acceptable assessment report carries a penalty of $1,000 per year. In addition, a late filing penalty of $250 per month will be imposed. Also, an owner who fails to timely correct an unsafe condition will be subject to a penalty of $1,000 per month, pro-rated daily, until the unsafe condition is corrected. The amount of the penalty for failing to correct an unsafe condition will be determined by the date the DOB receives an acceptable amended assessment report indicating that the unsafe condition was corrected.
More than 200 retaining walls. An owner of multiple properties in multiple boroughs that contain 200 or more retaining walls subject to the inspection requirements and who employs a full-time professional engineer and has an established inspection procedure for the retaining walls as of the effective date of the DOB rule is not subject to the requirements of the rule (although the owner is still subject to the inspection and reporting requirements of the Construction Code). Such an owner must file inspection reports in a form acceptable to the DOB.
Effective date. The DOB’s retaining wall rule became effective July 24, 2013.
We’re pleased to share with you the National Association of Housing Cooperative’s 1st Progress Report – which highlights 2012 activities and accomplishments. We hope you enjoy taking a look back at last year’s Annual Conference and the many goals we achieved together to strengthen NAHC – America’s Home for Cooperative Housing.
Please feel free to share this 2012 Progress Report with other members in your community and with other organizations – it’s a great way to show people what NAHC does with the support and hard work of members like you.
You can download a copy of the report from the NAHC website, at www.coophousing.org