Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) and Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) announced that their bill to strengthen code violation penalties has passed the full Legislature (A362A/S2884A). The measure imposes more significant fines for individuals that repeatedly violate the uniform building code and would deter future code violations.
When municipalities fail to hand down meaningful penalties to building owners, the fines are simply seen as the cost of doing business. Currently, fines can range up to $1,000 a day, which can technically be as low as a single cent. The Zebrowski/May legislation enhances the current law by imposing a minimum fine of $25 a day after 6 months of a violation going uncured and a minimum violation of $50 a day after a year of an uncured violation.
The proposed increased fines will provide the recourse to stop this type of behavior moving forward. Additionally, it will force municipalities that aren’t prioritizing code enforcement, to do so. Enforcing proper building code is a local issue and if not taken seriously, it’s easy for a culture of poor compliance to flourish, endangering lives in the process.
"We've seen time and again in Rockland and across New York State how the 'build now, ask for forgiveness later' attitude puts residents and first responders lives at risk. Repeat offenders that violate building code and continually flout the law need to be held accountable for their reckless actions- these increased fines will add teeth to the repercussions and do just that. I am proud to have championed these code enforcement issues in the past and hopeful that the Governor will swiftly sign this into law," said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
“Across New York our municipalities are facing a crisis with the housing stock. Our communities are suffering under absentee landlords and fear that landlords will retaliate if they report code violations in their homes. This legislation has the teeth to hold repeat offenders accountable for their bad management practices by denying them access to more properties and implementing increasing fines for failure to fix existing issues in their current properties. Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home,” said Senator May.
If signed by the Governor, the law would take effect immediately.