2015-16 Legislative Update What's New in New York City and Albany

The 2015-16 New York State Legislative season is here, and on the table are many housing-related bills, many of which directly impact co-op and condo board members, managers and residents. Housing is also on the agenda in the New York City Council, although the main action is in Albany because most housing-related laws are state laws.

As this article was being written, there were 229 bills before the Assembly that related to housing, many with counterparts in the state Senate. Some were specifically for rental housing. Some only dealt with one geographic area—for example, two addressed “towns in the Peconic Bay area.” Others (many of which are designed to help senior citizens) could apply to both rentals and co-op/condos.

Housing Bills

If you narrow your online search criteria for current bills to “condo” you’ll find 37 items. Many of these relate to important issues for both condos and co-ops. For example, A01855 would create the official position of cooperative or condominium ombudsman. AO3513, sponsored by Assembly Speaker (and head of the Housing Committee) Keith Wright would create a “bill of rights” for co-op and condo owners.

A00311, sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-81, Riverdale/Kingsbridge), would require that the board of a converted co-op or condo be comprised of members selected by the shareholders or unit owners - not the sponsor. And bill S03818 would provide that the assessed values of co-op and condo units won’t increase by more than 3 percent in the two years after resolution of tax certiorari proceedings.

A search for “co-ops,” brings up only four bills. Two deal with bedbug infestation in units; the other two would prohibit warehousing. Using a search for “cooperatives,” not all the bills deal with housing, since that word is used in variety of meanings. If one searches the City Council website for “housing” bills, 19 initiatives turn up, but none specifically tagged for “condos,” “condominiums,” “co-ops” or “cooperatives.”

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