Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a legislative package to ensure tenants’ safety during certain emergencies, among other security measures. The new legislation requires the New York City Housing Authority to notify residents within 24 hours if NYCHA is advised by a utility or government agency that the water is unsafe for drinking or cooking; requires owners of multifamily buildings to provide the names and contact information of all their building’s residents to emergency services personnel upon request during fires or other emergencies; prohibits the installation of certain building security devices used to access common areas of a residential building without the building’s written permission; and allows the estate of a deceased tenant to terminate a tenant’s lease.
“Every New Yorker deserves access to a safe and healthy home,” Governor Hochul said. “New York has the highest percentage of renters of any state in the nation, and I’m proud to sign this legislation which will ensure tenants have additional, critical protections.”
Legislation S.7456/A.7273 requires NYCHA to give residents 24 hours written notice if a utility or government agency advises NYCHA that the water is unsafe for drinking or cooking.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “All tenants, including residents of NYCHA developments, should expect that the drinking water supplied to their buildings is clean and safe. It is unacceptable that too often they face uncertainty when it comes to the quality of water coming out of their taps. When test results indicate a potential danger, residents must be notified immediately. My bill, which Governor Hochul is signing into law today, creates guidelines for prompt notification of residents when water quality issues arise, along with a requirement that any labs used to test water quality meet certain standards and will ensure the safety of water consumed by all NYCHA residents and their families.”
Legislation S.2294A/A.2134A requires owners of multifamily rental buildings to provide the names and contact information of all their building’s residents upon the request of emergency services personnel responding to an emergency, such as a fire, gas leak, or any event where tenants need to be located to determine their safety.
Per the legislation, the owner must obtain specific and informed written consent from tenants and the lists cannot be used or disseminated for other purposes. Owners will need to update the list whenever they enter into, renew, or modify a lease. Based on agreement secured by the Governor to amend the law next session, public housing authorities can update the list upon annual recertification of eligibility for public housing, ensuring this otherwise beneficial legislation does not cause these critical affordable housing sources undue administrative burden.
State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am pleased that today that with the Governor’s signature, New York State is taking another step to increase safety for tenants across New York State. In the horrific event of a fire, flood, or other emergency, it can be critical and potentially lifesaving for first responders to know exactly how many people remain in apartment buildings and multi-family homes. I introduced this legislation after a serious fire in a Yonkers co-op, where first responders had difficulties confirming the whereabouts of residents because they did not have a list of who lived in the building. I thank Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz for carrying this legislation in the Assembly and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law.”
Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “When firefighters and other emergency personnel are called upon to respond to a fire or other crisis, their responsibilities include ensuring that everyone is safely evacuated from the building. This task can be especially challenging when a fire occurs in an apartment building. However, this law will make it significantly easier for emergency personnel to have the information necessary to ensure that all residents are accounted for when a tragedy occurs, such as a fire breaking out in an apartment building. Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul and State Senator Shelley Mayer.”
Legislation S.358B/A.2258B prohibits any person or entity from installing a keyless security device to gain access to a residential building’s common area without express written approval from the building. Thanks to another agreement secured by the Governor with the Legislature, the law will be amended next session to additionally require building owners or managers to give 30 days’ notice to residents of any approved installation, as well as guaranteeing the installation of the devices will neither lead to changes in rent nor cause residents any issues in getting into their buildings.
State Senator Kevin Thomas said, “I thank Governor Hochul for signing my legislation prioritizing the safety and privacy of consumers after troubling reports on Amazon’s ‘Key for Business’ initiative. By mandating written consent for keyless entry devices in residential buildings, we are safeguarding New Yorkers’ rights and protecting against unforeseen costs. This will set precedent for responsible technology implementation in our communities.”
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “New Yorkers deserve to feel safe and stay healthy in their own homes. That’s why I am thrilled Governor Hochul has signed into law a legislative package that will strengthen building safety, including my bill to prohibit the unauthorized installation of keyless entry devices into common areas of residential buildings. This law will ensure New Yorkers are aware of any such devices being installed in their building because it will now require written consent.”
Legislation S.548/A.458 allows the executor, administrator, or legal representative of a deceased tenant to terminate the tenant’s lease upon written notice to the landlord. The bill safeguards both the estate’s and the landlord’s financial security by allowing the estate to stop paying rent while requiring the estate to pay any outstanding charges owed to the building at the time of termination. The legislation also lets rental units get back onto the market more quickly, helping future tenants find housing.
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “With today’s signature by Governor Hochul, we’re correcting the appalling situation whereby families of deceased tenants are held responsible for the remainder of rent on apartment leases. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleague Assembly Member Epstein for their support. I also thank Barbara Barron, who as a constituent first brought this inequitable and unfair situation to my attention, and has been fighting for passage of our legislation for years.”
Assemblymember Harvey Epstein said, ” Allowing landlords to hold deceased tenants to their lease terms represents an unreasonable financial burden on the estate. The current system unfairly burdens folks who do not have the resources to pay. This bill is a step towards a more equitable housing system and I thank Governor Hochul for signing it.”