NYC bill aims to create stricter landlord oversight, increase building safety

NYC bill aims to create stricter landlord oversight, increase building safety

MORRIS HEIGHTS, the Bronx (PIX11) — It’s been nearly five months since a building facade collapse exposed an entire corner line of apartments and forced around 130 tenants at 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx to lose their homes, peace of mind, and any semblance of normalcy.

“Very difficult,” said Anna in Spanish. She is still not back in her fourth-floor corner unit.

As for her other neighbors in the building, the inconvenience of living through the restoration process grows with each passing day.

“We just got gas last Friday. It was very frustrating because I like to cook,” said Jacqueline.

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The tenants are hoping new legislation announced Thursday by New York City Council member Pierina Sanchez will create stricter oversight on landlords and the city’s inspection protocol and prevent another collapse.

“A building like this deserves scrutiny. New Yorkers deserve to have an understanding of what is the structural integrity of our buildings across the city, a very old city with aging infrastructure,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez’s bill:

  • Calls for the creation of a new multi-factor risk-based New York City Department of Buildings inspection program that takes into account a building’s age, its violation history, and permit history.

  • Puts in place a more urgent landlord corrective action plan, which must be submitted within 10 days of a notice of violation.

  • Mandates timely landlord violation correction, so they must immediately address hazardous violations.

  • Puts in place escalating civil landlord penalties for a failure to correct violations.

Department of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo on Thursday testified during a City Council buildings oversight hearing to provide an update on the investigation into the exact cause of the Billingsley Terrace collapse.

“I understand the need to get this done, and we are working as quickly as we can to deliver that,” said Oddo.

Oddo also expressed concern that Sanchez’s newly proposed inspection protocol would strain department resources.

PIX11 News reached out to the building owner at 1915 Billingsley Terrace requesting comment for this story. He did not respond in time for this report.

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