Last Spring, the City Council enacted a package of bills that strengthen existing City laws with regard to fire safety. The following are the most vital to rental property owners:
Local Law 113 of 2018 requires the installation of photo-electric smoke detectors within 20 feet of cooking appliances after January 1, 2021 when replacing an existing smoke detector. All ionization alarm technology detectors will be phased out after 2021 and photo-electric smoke detectors can begin to be installed any time before that in areas near cooking appliances. Owners can begin installing photo-electric smoke detectors now, but are not required to do so until the beginning of 2021.
Local Law 111 of 2018 makes failure to maintain self-closing doors in apartments and stairwells a class C violation. Since this law has gone into effect, the City Department of Preservation and Development (HPD) has revved up inspections to ensure that doors of all units and public area doors are self-closing. Oftentimes, tenants remove pins from the hinges of the doors and can make owners susceptible to frequently issued violations. As a result, owners must remain watchful of apartment and stairwell doors to avoid violations.
Local Law 117 of 2018 requires owners to provide a notice to tenants annually that states that the owner must provide tamperproof knob covers for all gas-powered stoves if requested by the tenant (regardless of whether or not a child under six lives in the apartment). Please keep in mind that the tenant has the right to opt-out of this program. However, if a tenant does not opt out, you must make attempts to provide them with stove knob covers. This notice is now included in RSA’s Annual Safety Notice Service (ASNS).
Furthermore, owners must remember that as of October 1, 2018, the FDNY has promulgated new fire safety notifications that owners will be required to provide to their tenants. These changes are a result of the adoption of the 2014 Fire Code, which expanded the existing fire safety guide to include non-fire emergencies (medical emergencies, severe weather emergencies, hazardous materials releases, terrorism-related incidents and power outages). The existing fire safety guide has now been replaced with a new Fire and Emergency Preparedness (FEP) Guide entitled New York City Apartment Building Emergency Preparedness Guide.
RSA’s Annual Safety Notice Service can help you comply with these new FDNY requirements and the City’s new stove knob cover notice requirements, along with the existing window guard and lead paint notice requirements. For more information please see page 1 of the October 2018 RSA Reporter, or call RSA directly at (212) 214-9200.