City Council Considers Bill to Reject Quick Fixes by Owners


A bill that gets tougher on owners who make cosmetic repairs to buildings but fail to address underlying structural problems was recently considered by the city council. If the bill is approved, the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development would be able to issue orders to property owners requiring repairs to fix underlying conditions causing problems in multiple apartments in the same building. The orders would be enforceable in housing court. Once the bill goes into effect, the department plans to target about 50 apartment buildings a year.

According to Vito Mustaciuolo, the department's deputy commissioner of enforcement and neighborhood services, the most common underlying issue is that owner plaster over water leaks but don't seek out the source of the water, which over time can cause mold or structural problems. The number of violations the department issued for leak and mold issues rose to nearly 26,000 in 2012, up from just under 22,000 in 2011. And more than one-quarter of those buildings had violations in multiple apartments.

To help you stay on top of water leaks in your building, it's important to keep detailed maintenance records anytime a resident complains about mold or moisture. If you keep good records, you'll be better able to defend yourself if you're sued later or an inspector cites you for failing to address an underlying structural problem. Here's access to a sample moisture/water intrusion incident report that you can use to help keep good records of complaints and your response to them.