Two Brooklyn city council reps have teamed up to introduce a new bill aimed at reinforcing an existing law that requires landlords to fix “underlying conditions,” or rampant mold and water damage. Antonio Reynoso who reps the 34th district (D-East Williamsburg and Bushwick) and Rafael Espinal of the 54th (D-East New York) have teamed up with Ritchie Torres (another Democrat from the Bronx) to push for the changes today at City Hall.
As of now, tenants who’ve got a mold problem on their hands can file a complaint with Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and we’re guessing wait approximately forever to get a response. HPD eventually approaches the landlord and gives them 4 months to address the issue, but landlords can request a 2 month extension if they say “pretty please.” Landlords frequently make cosmetic repairs like painting over the mold, temporarily masking the problem.
The city told New York Daily News that “it only has the resources to target 50 buildings per year for ‘underlying conditions orders.'” There are certainly at least a few more buildings in the city with water damage and mold problems, so the new bill, if it passes, would give tenants greater opportunity for redress by allowing them to take their landlords to court over “underlying conditions,” rather than wait for a response from HPD.