Yonkers Mayor Introduces New Landlord Identification Bill

Real Estate In-Depth | May 2019

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced the proposal to create a citywide landlord registry at a press conference on May 6.

YONKERS—Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced on May 6 plans to propose legislation to the Yonkers City Council expanding the responsibilities and accountability of local landlords in an effort to better protect the safety and well-being of their tenants.

The local law would amend the “Housing and Building Maintenance Code” and would apply to residential buildings with two or more apartments, with the goal of enhancing the public health of tenants so the city can proactively identify any unsafe housing conditions or building deficiencies.

According to the proposed legislation:

  • Every property owner must register once a year with the Housing and Building Department.
  • If the owner lives more than 20 miles from Yonkers they must designate a live agent who lives within 20 miles. They must provide a 24-hour phone number and post contact information on the furnace for repair and service.
  • If the property is owned by an LLC or corporation, they must provide the individual owners of the legal entity.
  • Owners must certify that each dwelling unit has been inspected once a year and that there are no health and safety violations.
  • Any building with five or more health and safety violations in a one-year period, the building shall be designated a chronic violator. The owner is then liable for an additional fine of up to $1,000 a day until all violations are corrected.
  • The city shall have the right to abate any violations in a building classed as a chronic violator and charge the owner costs, plus a 15% service charge.
  • The law creates a Chronic Review Violation Board, consisting of the Commissioner of Housing and Building, the Commissioner of Planning & Development and the Corporation Counsel.

“After numerous concerns and issues with landlords of multi-family homes in Yonkers who are not providing safe and secure buildings to their tenants, it became very evident that the city needs to hold these landlords more accountable,” said Mayor Spano. “This thorough and expanded list of landlord guidelines strengthens the city’s code enforcement capabilities, helps alleviate conditions of substandard housing for Yonkers residents and hopefully assures them that the city has means to hold landlords responsible.”

“I fully support this legislation as it provides additional protections for the residents of our city,” said Yonkers Councilwoman Shanae Williams. “It further takes action against those landlords who think they are above the law or are negligent to conditions of the buildings they own. Thank you to Mayor Spano and his administration for continually looking out for the well-being of our residents.”

Yonkers Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac stated, “In June of 2016, I introduced legislation addressing the need for tenant protection and increased landlord accountability. It is great to see that Mayor Mike Spano and the City of Yonkers have introduced legislation that goes hand in hand with this idea in mind, and that would further strengthen tenant protection and landlord accountability in the City of Yonkers. I am happy to support this because it is so important to have mechanisms in place that create an environment where everyone is protected—tenants and landlords alike—so that our Yonkers residents can live in safe, reasonable, and quality housing. Everyone should have that as a minimum guarantee.”

The Landlord Identification legislation comes just months after Mayor Spano proposed legislation mandating, that in the event of a building condemnation, the costs and expenses of relocating tenants incurred by the City of Yonkers be reimbursed by the building owner.

If the proposed legislation is passed by the Yonkers City Council in the coming weeks, the amended law could go into effect in September 2019.