Lentol writes new law to protect neighbors from development damage!!
Thanks for listening and acting for our community! Let's hope this passes the state legislature and soon.
Here's the press release from their office:
For Release Immediate
Catherine Peake 518-455-4477
Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol Introduces Bill
To protect Building Owners and Renters
January 25, 2006, Today, Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol introduced legislation designed to address a serious problem affecting long standing property owners whose property is damaged by contractors building on adjacent property in the City of New York. Assemblyman Lentol said, “I’ve personally witnessed too many examples now where my neighbors wind up spending lots of money and sometimes must leave their homes as well because developers and their contractors caused damage to their existing adjacent properties as the contractors erect new homes and apartments.”
Currently, if a developer or contractor is working on property adjacent to or near an existing parcel and damages the existing property, the owner of the existing damaged building is held liable for correcting any resulting violations to his/her property. Often the New York City Buildings Department, when called to intervene in such disputes, cites the property owner -- whose property was damaged by the contractor -- for Building Code violations despite the fact that the damage was entirely caused by the contractor operating under a permit issued by the Buildings Department. The innocent property owner often gets violations requiring the payment of fines and may have to vacate his/her property until the damage is corrected -- sometimes at great expense. The innocent owner will likely not recover damages. Instead, he/she expends large sums of money on legal fees incurred in a long, drawn out civil suit.
Lentol said, “The City Buildings Department, faced with the aforementioned situation, has created a true bureaucratic “Catch 22”. Often a property owner will witness bad construction practices by a contractor working next door and will report the situation to the Buildings Department. Upon responding to the complaint, the Buildings Department inspector may discover damage to the complainant’s building, caused by the negligent actions of the contractor. You would think the party that did the damage would be cited and fined by the Buildings Department. Such an assumption would be in error. The Buildings Department issues violations against the damaged property. This is not unlike a situation in which a car thief is reported to the police and the owner gets cited for running a red light while the vehicle is in the thief’s possession.”
Lentol continued, ”I am proposing a law to require every developer to pay into an escrow account which would be used for “quick claims” by injured parties, and would create a system of processing these quick claims to allow injured parties, property owners or tenants, to be made whole by negligent contractors in a timely manner. My bill would also prohibit the Buildings Department from issuing fines to property owners who have been victimized by the negligence of those working on adjacent properties.”
Lentol concluded, “The New York City Buildings Department has been unreasonable and inflexible in dealing with these incidents. They occur frequently in Brooklyn and in other locations where development is rampant. I am committed to see that the problem stops, which is why this bill is needed.”