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HOW MULTI-FAMILY BUILDING OWNERS, COOP AND CONDO BOARDS, AND MANAGING AGENTS SHOULD DEAL WITH COVID-19

HOW MULTI-FAMILY BUILDING OWNERS, COOP AND CONDO BOARDS, AND MANAGING AGENTS SHOULD DEAL WITH COVID-19

Prepared by the firm of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP 

Owners of multi-family buildings, boards of condominiums and cooperatives and their managing agents should be aware of their legal obligations that arise from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  In general, owners, board members and managing agents must do what a reasonably prudent person would do when faced with a similar problem. The federal, state and city governments and their agencies are recommending procedures to be followed to minimize health risks to the public and to employees, to deal with individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus, and to be followed by those having come into close contact with such individuals. Deviating significantly from these standards can result in potential claims. 

The Center for Disease Control (the “CDC”) maintains that a majority of people have a low risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. The CDC detailed that the following individuals are at an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19:

  • Within a community where COVID-19 has been reported; 
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19;
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19; and
  • Travelers returning from areas where community spread is occurring. 

New York State has declared a state of emergency due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our state. Until we are advised that the virus is under control and the state of emergency has been ended, we believe that all multi-family buildings and managing agents are expected to implement reasonable procedures and protocols in order to mitigate risks and potential claims. We recommend that the following steps be taken in most situations.

I. Standard Protocols for keeping Buildings, Building Staff and Residents Safe 

A. Building and Resident Safety

  • Building staff should keep all common areas, furniture and equipment sanitized with the use of an EPA approved disinfectant (must contain at least 70% alcohol). Common areas may include lobbies, elevators, mail rooms, playrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms and gyms, and common furniture and equipment located therein. Door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, and other commonly touched areas should be disinfected regularly. 
  • Building staff should ask all contractors, vendors and delivery persons who enter through the service door to wash their hands and any guests or delivery persons entering through the lobby to cleanse their hands at the hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobby before proceeding further into the building. 
  • Provide hand sanitizer dispensers (must contain at least 60% alcohol) and disinfecting wipes for use by building staff, residents and visitors in the lobby, service entrance and in areas where people congregate in the building. 
  • Ensure there is always soap and paper towels in bathrooms, that all sinks are in good repair and post reminder instructions for 20-second hand washing. 
  • Post flyers and information in readily accessible areas for all the residents and employees to see information on COVID-19. Find links below. 
  • Encourage all persons exhibiting symptoms of infection to seek medical care, follow their doctor’s orders, and report themselves to the CDC and local health department. 
  • Encourage all persons who have come in close contact with an infected person to self-quarantine in their home for at least 14 days. 

B. Building Staff Safety 

  • Building staff should wear and use appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, according to existing policies and procedures, as well as following label directions for cleaning products. 
  • Encourage staff when entering individual homes to inquire with residents if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and if they have traveled to high-risk areas. If the resident answers yes to either of these questions, and the visit may be postponed, it is encouraged that the staff postpone the visit. If that is impossible, the resident should remain in a different room during the visit with the door closed, if possible, wear a face mask, and the employees should immediately wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Require building staff to stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Implement a course of action for prompt identification and isolation of infected individuals. 
  • Ensure there are face masks, hand sanitizers, soap and sanitized towels readily available for all staff. 
  • Employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Hazard guidelines (“OSHA”) and provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards which may cause death and harm. Please see link at end of document. 

II. Procedures if you Suspect an Infected Individual in the Building

  • Buildings may temporarily suspend services to public areas like gyms and conference rooms. 
  • Attempt to keep the names of suspected infected individuals confidential from other residents but inform all building staff that may come into contact with that individual. 
  • The staff should inform management of the name and address of each person suspected of being infected so management can inform the CDC and local health officials. 
  • Direct the building staff not to come into contact with the suspected infected or quarantined individual without following the above protocols, i.e. request the suspected individual to exit the room, wear protective face mask and properly sanitize after the visit. 
  • Advise all infected or quarantined persons that deliveries will be left outside the apartment door, that the delivery (or staff) person will ring the doorbell to advise of the delivery and will depart immediately without interacting with such person.  
  • Report to the CDC and to the city, county or district health officer any suspected infected individual who is not remaining quarantined. 

III. Links for Further Guidance 

CDC – Coronavirus Summary
NYC – Guidance and Safety Tips – Recommended to Post for Residents and Employees to see
NYC – Flyer – Recommended to Post for Residents and Employees to see
CDC – Home Cleaning and Disinfection
NYC – Disinfection Guidance for Commercial and Residential Property
OSHA Guidelines for Employers

GOVERNOR’S VETO DASHES CURRENT HOPES FOR REVERSE MORTGAGES FOR SENIORS IN CO-OPS

GOVERNOR’S VETO DASHES CURRENT HOPES FOR REVERSE MORTGAGES FOR SENIORS IN CO-OPS

On Friday the 13th, Governor Cuomo issued his Veto #213, disappointing hundreds of seniors who supported this important legislation as they aged in place in New York  housing cooperatives. Many of these seniors call CNYC on a regular basis for progress reports on the legislation that would have enabled them to live out their lives in the homes and communities dear to them.   Now many will be forced to sell their cooperatives for the funds to cover their living and medical expenses in their ‘golden years”.  

CNYC has worked for years to enable seniors in housing cooperatives to use the equity in their homes through reverse mortgages.   This year,  Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz and Committee Chair Kenneth Zembrowski, brought together organizations such as AARP and those involved specifically with mortgage foreclosure prevention.  .  All those involved recognized the vital need to help seniors in housing cooperatives.   We worked with good will to understand one another’s concerns and to produce legislation with  ample consumer protections.

With our thanks to the law makers and organizations who worked for this important legislation, and deepest aplogies to the seniors whose hopes have been dashed by this veto, please know that CNYC and FNYHC will continue its efforts to enable seniors in housing cooperatives to access reverse mortgage-type loans.  

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) has issued the following press release following the introduction of the Disaster Assistance Equity Act for common interest communities including cooperatives and condominiums

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) has issued the following press release following the introduction of the Disaster Assistance Equity Act for common interest communities including cooperatives and condominiums

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) introduced H.R. 5337, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act, along with Representatives David Rouzer (NC-7), Joe Cunningham (SC-1), Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Eliot Engel (NY-16), and Peter King (NY-2). This bipartisan legislation will ensure that common interest communities, including co-ops and condominiums, are eligible for the same FEMA assistance available to other homeowners.

The bill accomplishes this by making two key changes to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act:

  • Makes essential common elements of a common interest community (such as a roof, exterior wall, heating and cooling equipment, elevator, stairwell, utility access, plumbing, and electricity) eligible under FEMA’s Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program;
  • Makes common interest communities eligible under FEMA’s requirements for the removal of debris in the aftermath of a major disaster.

“Seven years ago, thousands of New Yorkers and other Americans were shocked to learn that FEMA’s eligibility rules left them with no way of restoring their homes in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Since that time, common interest communities across the country have faced similar hardships. This is simply unacceptable. A natural disaster doesn’t care what type of home you live in, and FEMA should treat all homeowners equally. I am proud to join Representatives Rouzer, Cunningham, Zeldin, Engel, and King in re-introducing this critical bill, which will ensure that every American can rebuild their home after a natural disaster.”

Full press release

NYARM, THE NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF REALTY MANAGERS INVITES CNYC BUILDING BOARD MEMBERS AS NO COST $0 GUESTS ON:

NYARM, THE NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF REALTY MANAGERS INVITES CNYC BUILDING BOARD MEMBERS AS NO COST $0 GUESTS ON:

Wednesday Sept 25th 6:30 to 8pm at the law offices of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP 845 3rd Avenue, 5th Floor “The Effect of Rent Law Amendments and Other Issues on Building Valuations in the World of Finance” How your multifamily mortgage loan applications and other refinancing opportunities are affected: Loan Underwriting, Appraisal Issues, Construction and Rehab Lending and more. Seminar content specific to building: owners, boards and, property/building managers of both coop & rental buildings.

Presented by: Jay L. Hack, Esq., https://www.gdblaw.com/jay-hack Partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP and the former Chair, Business Law Section, NYS Bar Association. Mr. Hack’s primary practice focus is providing a full range of legal services to banks and other financial institutions.

He will be joined by real estate law practitioners from GDBLAW. Both alcohol and nonalcoholic refreshments will be served along with other light refreshments.

RSVP is required and NYARM MEMBERS also come at no charge, Space is limited. Contact NYARM Executive Director, Margie Russell mrussell@nyarm.com with your: name, phone#, title and, building address.

LEAD IN DUST STANDARDS – NEW REQUIREMENTS

LEAD IN DUST STANDARDS – NEW REQUIREMENTS

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH” or “the Department”) is writing to inform you that effective June 11th, NYC will have new lower lead in dust standards.  Local Law 66 of 2019 outlines new lead reference/action levels and standards relating to lead-based paint hazards.

The new standards for lead dust clearance and lead dust hazard risk assessment testing in New York City are as follows:

Area Current Standards New Standards
Floors 40 mcg/ft2 10 mcg/ ft2
Window Sills 250 mcg/ft2 50 mcg/ft2
Window Wells 400 mcg/ft2 100 mcg/ft2

 

The new standards apply to all clearance dust wipe samples collected in New York City on or after June 11, 2019. Please see the attached document for more important information.

Should you have any questions about the above requirements, please email questions to the DOHMH’s Healthy Homes Program at safework@health.nyc.gov referencing “New lead in dust standards.”  Please also provide your name and phone number with your inquiry.

BUILDINGSNY: A 2-DAY EXPO AT THE JAVITS CENTER

BUILDINGSNY: A 2-DAY EXPO  AT THE JAVITS CENTER

For over 30 years BuildingsNY has been the leading event for NYC building professionals, bringing together 5,500+ industry professionals including Building Owners, Property Managers, Facility Engineers, Managing Agents, Energy Engineers and Superintendents.

BuildingsNY offers you the opportunity to discover state-of-the-art technologies, goods and services to help reduce costs, grow your business, operate efficiently & unlock your property’s profitability.

Click for More Information

Veterans Benefit Fair – Nov. 14

Veterans Benefit Fair – Nov. 14

Come celebrate our veterans and learn about veterans benefits from:

  • Department of Veterans Services
  • Department of Finance
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Vet Center
  • Human Resources Administration
  • Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Emerging Technologies Institute
  • VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
  • Neighborhood Housing Services
  • IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service
  • Housing Preservation and Development
  • Department for the Aging
  • LiveOn NY
  • Tenant Support Unit
  • Office of the Taxpayer Advocate
  • Minority Veterans Program Coordinators

1 Centre Street, North Mezzanine
New York, New York 10007
Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 4pm – 7pm

Click for More Information (PDF)

Coop/Condo Abatement Training – Sept. 13

Coop/Condo Abatement Training – Sept. 13

How to Renew Your Development’s
Coop/Condo Abatement

REBNY Mendik Education Center
570 Lexington Avenue, Lower Level
September 13, 10:30 A.M.

  • Learn how to submit your renewal and changes for the cooperative and condominium property tax abatement.
  • Set up an online account to submit your changes electronically.

Click for More Information (PDF)

Queens Retrofit Accelerator event – Aug 16

Queens Retrofit Accelerator event – Aug 16

The NYC Retrofit Accelerator Program is excited to host a workshop for Queens building owners and managers that will showcase services to help you save on energy and water bills! The Retrofit Accelerator, a Mayor’s Office of Sustainability initiative, makes building efficiency easier by offering free, personalized advice to help you reduce operating costs, enhance tenant comfort, and improve our environment.

The event will feature speakers from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and our partners, National Grid, Con Edison, and DEP that offer funding opportunities to assist with energy and water efficiency improvements.

The event is open to the public and will be hosted at the Lefrak Queens Public Library, 98-30 57th Ave, Corona, NY 11368, on August 16th from 6:00 PM-7:30 PM. We hope to see you there!

Space is limited so please register to reserve your spot.

Contact information: NYC Retrofit Accelerator contact: Sarah Lorya, 646-576-5655, Sarah@nycretrofit.org

Registrationhttps://nycretrofitevent816.eventbrite.com