Mayor Signs Bills Targeting Water Liens & Heat Season
Pregnancy Center Ads Also Addressed
Water liens, delinquent landlords and pregnancy service centers were all targets of bills signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last Wednesday, Mar. 16.
Intro. 26-A extends the city’s authority to sell liens on delinquent tax, water, and property related charges until 2014. It also will give the city the authority to sell liens of delinquent properties in its Emergency Repair and Alternative Enforcement programs after one year and $1,000 in outstanding charges, and includes Housing Development Fund Corporation rental units in the lien sale after two years and $5,000 in delinquent charges.
“Intro. 26-A also requires notification mailings at 90, 60, 30, and 10 days prior to the lien sale and publication of the lien sale list in major newspapers at 90 and 10 days,” Bloomberg noted in a statement. “Other pre-sale outreach measures include a mailing to property owners twice a year with information on tax exemptions, the lien sale process, payment plans, and contact information for the ombudsperson at the Department of Finance and Department of Environmental Protection. After the lien has been sold, the third party collector is required to send an initial letter to the property owner explaining the servicer’s role and itemized bills on all pay-off statements including a breakdown of initial outstanding debt, interest, surcharges, and fees.”
Among the bill’s sponsors are local City Council Members Leroy- Comrie, James Gennaro, Julissa Ferreras, Erik Martin Dilan, Karen Koslowitz, Diana Reyna, Jimmy Van Bramer, Elizabeth Crowley, Eric Ulrich and Peter Koo.
“Intro. 26-A strikes a balance between the city’s need to maintain reliable collections and the essential goal of preserving home ownership,” Bloomberg concluded.
Intro. 291-A, brought to the City Council by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, increases the penalty for landlords who fail to provide adequate heat and hot water to their tenants.
City law requires that landlords provide a certain amount of heat and hot water to all tenants of multiple dwellings and to every tenant-occupied one- or two- family dwelling. Hot water must be provided yearround between 6 a.m. and midnight at a constant temperature of 120º, and heat must be provided from Oct. 1 through May 31 during a period designated as ‘heat season.’ During that time period, if the temperature outside falls below 55º between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., then the interior temperature of the home must be at least 68º. If the tempera- ture falls below 40º between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the temperature inside is required to be at least 55º.
“The penalty for failing to provide heat and hot water is currently $250- $500 per day for each initial violation until the date the violation is corrected and $500-$1,000 per day for each subsequent violation at the same building during the same calendar year or heat season,” Bloomberg stated. “Intro. 291-A increases the time period to receive subsequent violations from one calendar year or heat season to two consecutive calendar years or heat seasons.
In Fiscal Year 2010, The Bureau of Housing and Preservation Development issued 12,436 heat and hot water violations.
Council Members Van Bramer, Ferreras, Reyna, Gennaro, Koo, Koslowitz, Mark Weprin and Daniel Dromm were among the bill’s sponsors.
Finally, Intro. 371-A requires pregnancy service centers to disclose the services they are providing to women seeking reproductive care.
“Pregnancy service centers provide services to women who are or may become pregnant and are not licensed by the state or federal government to provide medical or pharmaceutical services to women,” said Bloomberg. “These centers provide obstetric ultrasounds, obstetric sonograms or prenatal care or have the appearance of a licensed medical facility.”
Centers will now be required ot tell their clients if they have a licensed medical provider on staff and explain to their clients the services they do—or don’t—perform. Centers will also have to ensure their patients’ confidentiality.
Among the bill’s sponsors were Council Members Ferreras, Reyna, Koslowitz, Van Bramer and Dromm.
Post new comment