If you own a residential building in New York City, the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) can assist you. HPD is more than the enforcer of rules regulating privately owned residential apartment buildings; it assists owners to maintain the quality of their properties through a comprehensive housing education curriculum; a variety of loan programs; help with addressing Housing Maintenance Code violations and getting them removed from the record; counseling on a wide range of finance and management issues; and guidance in dealing with tax and mortgage arrears. Much of this help is easy to access either by phone or computer, and a good deal of it is free.
Q: AM I REQUIRED TO REGISTER MY BUILDING WITH HPD?
The Housing Maintenance Code requires owners of multiple dwellings to register their buildings with HPD annually. "Multiple dwellings" are defined as buildings with three or more dwelling units. One- and two-family dwellings need not be registered unless the owner lives outside of the City. In such cases, the building must be managed by a New York City agent and registered with HPD's Registration Assistance Unit. Buildings containing six or more dwelling units must be registered by April 1 of each year, and buildings containing five or fewer dwelling units must be registered by October 1 of each year. HPD may sue owners who fail to register their buildings according to the law. Information and downloadable registration forms are available at www.nyc.gov/hpd or from the Registration Assistance Unit, which may be reached by calling 311.
Q: MY BUILDING HAS RECEIVED HOUSING MAINTENANCE VIOLATIONS. HOW DO I CORRECT THEM AND CLEAR MY RECORD?
Residential building owners may clear their records of Housing Maintenance Code violations by certifying that the violations were corrected within the required time period. After that time period has passed, building owners may file a Dismissal Request form with their Borough Code Enforcement Office. Building owners can also get technical advice from Code Inspectors in HPD's Borough Code Enforcement offices or from HPD's Borough Anti-Abandonment offices about how to correct violations in their buildings or enter into Voluntary Repair Agreements. Owners and other interested parties can obtain print-outs of violations for a nominal cost by going to one of the Borough Code Enforcement offices or from HPD's website. Contact information for borough offices is available by calling 311 or going to www.nyc.gov/hpd
Q: I WANT TO MAKE BUILDING REPAIRS. WHAT LOW INTEREST LOANS ARE AVAILABLE?
For qualified owners, HPD offers low interest rehabilitation loans in neighborhoods throughout the city. Owners of apartment buildings requiring systems repairs such as new plumbing or electrical systems, or more extensive rehabilitation, can receive help in securing low-interest loans. There are also programs that provide temporary tax relief for owners who build new housing or renovate their property. For more information about these loan programs, contact HPD's Owners Services Program via HPD's website at www.nyc.gov/hpd or call the City's 24-hour service line, 311 and ask for HPD's Owner Services. (311 can be accessed outside of New York City by dialing (212) NEW YORK).
Q: WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING CAN I RECEIVE FROM HPD?
HPD offers free training dealing with all aspects of property management and building maintenance including lead-based paint abatement and water and energy conservation. Call 311, or log onto www.nyc.gov/hpd for a free course catalogue.
Q: I'VE HEARD ABOUT A NEW LAW ON LEAD PAINT. WHAT DOES IT SAY?
A: The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act is intended to protect children from swallowing lead paint chips and dust. Lead can harm a child's health, learning and behavior. The law applies to certain types of apartments: those in buildings built before 1960 (or between 1960 and 1978 if you know the building contains lead paint) with three or more apartments and where a child under seven lives. You must annually inquire of your tenants if there are children under seven years of age residing in the unit. If you know that a child under seven lives in an apartment, you must inspect that apartment for peeling paint and other lead paint hazards at least once a year. Remediation of lead hazards must be conducted using safe work practices and trained workers. More information on the procedures for inspection and clean-up are available from 311 and www.nyc.gov/hpd
Q: MUST I INSTALL A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR IN EVERY APARTMENT?
In nearly all cases owners must install a carbon monoxide detecting device in tenants' apartments, but you can require the tenant to pay $25 to reimburse the cost of the installation. It is the tenant's obligation to maintain the device and to replace it if it is missing or inoperable. Certain limited exceptions do apply. They are listed on HPD's website at www.nyc.gov/hpd
Q: HOW DO I CONTACT HPD FOR MORE INFORMATION?
Tenants and building owners seeking more information about the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) may call 311 to request a copy of "Useful Information About Housing Rules and Regulations for Owners and Tenants" or go to www.nyc.gov/hpd