Buildings which have gas service are required to maintain that service safely.
Gas leaks are extremely dangerous. Property owners are required to post notices for tenants about how to identify gas odors and act once they believe that there is a gas leak.
It is illegal and dangerous to make changes to a gas system – including adding facilities such as gas dryers – without filing with the Department of Buildings. Such action can result in significant fines and a loss of service for an entire building. Restoring gas is a long and expensive process. Gas service can be shut down due to a leak or illegal gas work by the Department of Buildings, a utility company or the Fire Department.
Property owners are required to act to restore gas for heat and hot water and gas for cooking immediately once any of those services are disrupted. Tenants may be entitled to rent reductions for failure of a property owner to provide these services. Rent-regulated tenants should see the NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) website for more information regarding their rights.
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Gas leaks can create fires and explosions. It's important that you and your family know how to recognize a gas leak and what do if you suspect a leak. Recognize a gas leak by the following senses.
Smell: A distinctive, strong odor similar to rotten eggs.
Sight: A white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, blowing dust, or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason.
Sound: A roaring, hissing, or whistling.
If you suspect a gas leak has occurred, take the following actions:
Tenants should receive a Suspected Gas Leak Notice describing the procedures to be followed when a gas leak is suspected with the first lease or first lease renewal from the property owner. Property owners may also choose to post to the Combined Notice for smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors and gas leak notice.
Gas Service Shut-offs and Restoring Gas After Shut-off
Gas service may be shut off because the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), the Fire Department or your utility company found either a gas leak or found illegal work gas which has created a dangerous condition. Restoration of the service can take significant time based on multiple factors. However, you have a right to this service. You may file a complaint with HPD via 311 or 311Online and HPD will issue a violation for this condition.
DOB has created a gas restoration pamphlet to provide you with more information.
If the landlord attempts to convert from gas to electric, you may be entitled to file for a reduction of services with HCR if you reside in a rent-regulated unit.
Property owners are also required to act to restore gas for heat/hot water and gas for cooking immediately once any of those services are disrupted. Failure to do so will result in a violation, which may result in HPD emergency repair or litigation.
Once gas service is shut off for any reason, restoration of gas always requires:
All applications submitted must indicate whether the building is occupied and whether the building is rent-regulated, regardless of where in the building work will be performed.
If you believe that your plumber is not working safely, you should immediately inform DOB through 311 and the utility company.
As a property owner it is important that you understand the process described below so that you can ensure that your licensed plumber is working properly towards quick restoration:
Your licensed plumber must start the restoration process immediately. The first step is for your plumber to file an Emergency Work Notice (EWN) with DOB. The EWN must request approval to complete emergency work to restore gas for heating and must clearly explain what work will be done. The plumber must ensure that existing equipment is legal when filing the EWN. If it is not legal, the filing for the EWN must include a statement that the plumber plans to remove the existing equipment or legalize the existing equipment (if possible).
Within five days of the EWN approval, the plumber must file an application with DOB called a LAA. If the plumber fails to file the LAA, a Stop Work Order (SWO) may be issued by DOB, leading to longer delays. The LAA submitted to DOB must include plans for legalization, if previous equipment was not legal and is remaining. If work continues without an extension of the EWN or the filing and approval of an LAA, a SWO may be issued, again resulting potentially in fines and causing additional delays in restoring gas and subjecting you to additional civil penalties for HPD violations.
Before gas can be restored, a pressure test must be performed to ensure that the piping can hold the pressure of the gas. DOB must be on site with your plumber to witness the pressure test. DOB will usually perform an inspection within 2-5 days of a plumber request for inspection. If the test doesn’t hold, then a re-pipe may be needed if the system is old or if the leak cannot be identified. New lines cannot be run in the public areas. Your plumber should know from Con Edison/National Grid whether the gas meters must be moved to the basement. Typical failure issues for a pressure test include:
Your plumber can request a milestone inspection with DOB when work is in progress. You may want to have this milestone inspection to confirm that the work being done will be acceptable, rather than wait until work is almost completed only to find out that some requirement has not been satisfied.
Property owners who are planning to convert from central gas systems to either electric systems for heating or cooking or individual units/meters are required to: