New Law – Landlords must warn tenants on IAQ

Here is GREAT NEWS! Well, not for Notorious Landlords. You know who you are.

Others will follow.

Now we need to get past all the corruption for those who have already been harmed by the greedy criminals who continue to knowingly lease toxic environments to people. katy

New law adds health protection for renters

Landlords must warn tenants on air quality

The third time was the charm.

State Assembly woman Donna A. Lupardo and state Sen. Thomas W. Libous tried to get two previous governors to approve a measure that would warn tenants about indoor air contamination. Both George E. Pataki and Eliot Spitzer vetoed the measure.

Gov. David A. Paterson signed the bill into law Friday.

While there were requirements to inform property owners of certain environmental threats, there was no system in place to protect renters, said Lupardo, D-Endwell.

In Endicott, Hillcrest and other areas across the state, renters were unknowingly exposed to potential carcinogens such as trichlo-roethylene (TCE), even though landlords were notified about the contamination, she said.

“This new law will now close the current gaps that have allowed landlords to leave renters in communities like Endicott and Hillcrest uninformed of known or suspected environmental contamination,” Lupardo said.

The new law, which goes into effect in 90 days, requires property owners who have indoor air contamination results indicating levels above state Department of Health guidelines and to give tenants a DOH fact sheet that identifies the compound or contaminant of concern, along with the guidelines for indoor air quality and health risks associated with exposure. Tenants can then request specific test results from landlords if they desire, Lupardo said.

Landlords could be fined up to $500 for each violation, in addition to a fine of up to $500 for each day they are in violation.

Judith Enck, Paterson’s top environmental adviser, expects the majority of landlords to comply, but some education will be needed to teach people about the new law.

Enck added, “I think after this law is on the books for a little while, tenants will get in the habit of asking.” Tenants suspecting air contamination would also be wise to contact the local health department, she said.

The bill was first passed by the legislature in 2006, after a report in the Press & Sun-Bulletin found renters in Endicott — including young families with children — weren’t informed about TCE pollution affecting their apartments. It was vetoed by Pataki, who characterized it as “overly broad” and was concerned permanent notification would be required for environmental contamination remedied years or decades earlier.

A second attempt hit a different kind of problem with Spitzer, who supported the intent of the bill but vetoed it last August, saying it wasn’t comprehensive enough and in some instances was too vague. He urged lawmakers to draft another bill, this time with help from his office.

According to Libous, R-Binghamton, one reason the bill was previously vetoed was that some New York City landlords were concerned about the potential of having to contact more than 40,000 tenants.

“I applaud the work (Lupardo) did on this bill. She authored it and re-authored it. This is long overdue,” Libous said. “I’m very pleased that people who cannot afford a home, or who prefer living in an apartment, will still be protected and notified if there are concerns dealing with the environment.”

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