Changing the law to benefit housing cooperatives and condominiums is one of CNYC’s important ongoing goals. Success is often elusive and demands both patience and perseverance.
Recent months have seen important achievements at Federal, City and State levels.
VETERANS’ BENEFITS CAN NOW APPLY TO PURCHASE OF COOPS
The Veterans Bill that President Bush signed into law on December 28, 2006 included a provision which enables veterans who wish to make their homes in housing cooperatives to use their low cost mortgage benefits for this purchase. This success marks the culmination of a long term effort by Congress member Carolyn Maloney, who has worked on this issue since her election to Congress. Senator Chuck Schumer sponsored the requisite companion legislation. The National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) helped bring the support of many legislators from both sides of the aisle for this important measure. Regulations are being written for its implementation, and veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq should have the option of purchasing cooperatives at special low mortgage rates.
INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOLAR ENERGY USE
In Albany, Senator Dean Skelos and Assembly member Herman “Denny” Farrell enjoyed a quick success with S.4482/A.7451, which increased the allowable levels of power eligible for tax credits to shareholders and unit owners when solar energy systems are installed in their cooperatives and condominiums.
CNYC supported this legislation which encourages the use of renewable solar energy. It was signed into law by Governor Spitzer on July 3, 2007.
SPREADING COMPLIANCE ACROSS THE CALENDAR
CNYC has long argued that the City’s present system of requiring compliance reports to be files by all buildings the same time created tremendous problems. Local Law 11 of 1998 and its predecessor Local Law 10 of 1980 are prime examples. They require that all buildings over six stories in height file reports every five years attesting to the soundness of the building facade. The most recent filing deadline was February 21, 2007. CNYC had joined with virtually every other real estate organization in the city in the spring of 2006 to request that the Department of Buildings spread this deadline over time. The group argued that with one tight time frame for everyone, the demand on architects, engineers, contractor, providers of sidewalk sheds and scaffolding became impossibly large as the deadline approached, followed by fallow times of much less demand. Costs increased and quality often suffered.
City Council member Dan Garodnick clearly understood the problem and sought to solve it with Intro 550, which would have required that the dates for compliance with Local Law 11 be spread over time.
CNYC was happy to support Mr. Garodnick’s legislation, and did so in a hearing of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. However, the Department of Buildings has already incorporated this improvement into the City’s new Construction Code (see pages 12 and 13) , and will apply it to all cycled inspections (facade, elevator, etc.). This excellent modification in City enforcement practices will increase efficiency while helping stabilize costs for building owners.