ALBANY – Based on an extensive report by the State Senate Investigations Committee headed up by Senator James Skoufis (D, Woodbury), the upper house has approved a package of 10 bills to put more teeth into local code enforcement efforts in New York.
Skoufis said the legislation is aimed at providing safer living conditions all over the state. “This package of bills, I believe, will make a real significant difference in making sure that our residents and first responders are safe and living in really clean, respectable, safe housing conditions throughout the state and this package is a good start and now heads to the Assembly,” he said.
Skoufis’ committee took a comprehensive look at the code enforcement process in the cities of Newburgh, Mount Vernon and Albany and the Town of Ramapo.
A breakdown on the package of legislation:
- Prohibiting the Use of Plywood: This bill, S.1726A, sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, will prohibit the use of plywood, wood composite, wood veneer, or similar wood-based products to board up vacant abandoned properties.
- Municipal Authority: This bill, S.7301, sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, will provide additional lower court judicial authority to make it easier for municipalities to address violations of the building and fire prevention code.
- Creation of Residential Rental Registry: This bill, S.7288A, will create a statewide residential rental registry to provide information relating to rental units including code violations.
- Increases State Code Enforcement: This bill, S.7287, will increase the state code enforcement powers of the secretary of state by establishing a separate state code enforcement office headed by an ombudsperson.
- Penalties for Dangerous Apartment Alterations: This bill, S.1714, creates penalties on building owners of up to $7,500 for violations of the uniform fire prevention and building code that impedes egress during a fire or other emergency evacuation.
- Building Code Penalties: This bill, S.4938, will enhance pre-existing building code penalties for repeat offenders of State uniform fire prevention and building code.
- Fire Extinguisher Requirements: This bill, S.2813A, will require fire extinguishers to be placed on each floor of all rental apartment buildings.
- Time Restrictions for Court Issued Consent Orders: This bill, S.3320, will establish time restrictions for court-issued consent orders for work performance to remove or remedy dangerous conditions or building code violations.
- Fines for Code Violations: This bill, S.7292A, imposes escalating fines for code violations and illegal conversions.
Code Enforcement Training and Certification: This bill, S.7291, will increase the minimum standards for training and certification for code enforcement personnel.