- October 5, 2018
New York Residential Landlords, What You Need to Know About Real Property Law Today
New York State Senate recently amended the Real Property Law, Section 235-BB which now requires New York landlords to provide a valid Certificate of Occupancy for all residential 1-3 family rental units. This means that any new lease will require a conspicuous notice in bold face type that there exists a valid certificate of occupancy, if such certificate is required by law, OR a copy of the certificate be provided prior to a tenant signing the lease.
The new law reads as follows:
Section 1. The real property law is amended by adding a new section 235-bb to read as follows:
- 235-bb. Certificates of occupancy; required disclosure to tenant. 1. Prior to executing a residential lease or rental agreement with a tenant, the owner of real property consisting of three or fewer rental units shall provide conspicuous notice in bold face type as to whether a certificate of occupancy, if such certificate is required by law, is currently valid for the dwelling unit subject to the lease or rental agreement. Owners who provide the tenant with an actual copy of the valid certificate of occupancy shall be deemed to have compiled with the requirements of this subdivision.
- Any agreement by a lessee or tenant of premises for dwelling purposes waiving or modifying his or her rights as set forth in this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.
If the landlord fails to comply with the above and the tenant stops paying rent for any reason, you may be prohibited from being awarded unpaid rent in Court. Additionally, any lease that attempts to waive the tenant’s rights under Section 235-bb will be void as contrary to public policy.
Therefore, any alterations or additions to your rental property should be approved through the local municipality and a new Certificate of Occupancy should be acquired and provided to the tenants. “As a precaution, for existing leases, it is recommended that landlords obtain a copy of their current Certificate of Occupancy and provide it to all tenants,” says Ian Lindars, Real Estate Attorney at SDG Law.
Landlords should be aware that this section was put into effect to address illegal conversions which have been on the rise in certain parts of New York. While certain conversions are beneficial for both owners and tenants, others present potential issues with safety. In 2009 there was a famous case in Queens, NY where three (3) men died because they were unable to escape from an illegally divided basement in a burning building.
If you have any issues obtaining your Certificate of Occupancy, or have any questions about Section 235-bb, contact our Real Estate Department at SDG Law at 845-298-2000.