Most major hazards announce themselves loudly – think fires, coastal storms, and floods. Others are subtle and stealthy, growing audaciously while you are blissfully unaware of their existence. When you finally realize what’s happening, the damage they’ve caused can be extraordinarily expensive.
Gas leaks are one such insidious peril. They can cause tremendous damage and often lead to a full-blown, catastrophic explosion. Landlords in NYC need to be extra vigilant about their gas lines, as the city hosts some of the country’s oldest gas lines, making them more susceptible to leaks.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that your gas lines are running optimally and are in perfect shape. Sometimes, though, a tenant may suspect a leak. Do you have a procedure in place in the event of such an occurrence? Does your tenant frantically call your building’s Super? Should they first phone the police? When do they let the gas provider know about the problem? There is so much confusion at play that can cloud an already stressful time.
To that end, the government has passed Local Law 153 of 2016, effective as of June 4th, 2017. The law requires all landlords to notify residential tenants about proper procedures to follow in the event of a suspected gas leak.
This notification must be provided in two ways:
1.) Delivering personal notices
The owner must deliver a notice detailing proper procedure in the event of a suspected gas leak to every tenant and prospective tenant of all tenant-occupied units, including multi-family homes.
2.) Posting a notice
The owner must also post a notice containing this information a common area of the building. This notice may be posted alongside any other existing notices and must be maintained.
The notice should instruct your tenants to call 911 immediately upon suspicion of a gas leak. Next, the tenants should notify the gas provider, whose name and emergency phone number should be included in the notice. Only then, should the tenant contact the landlord or manager of their dwelling. These procedures are designed to minimize the damage caused by gas leaks and to ensure the safety of every tenant.
The wording of the notice must meet with governmental approval. Until the law is finalized and the exact language is determined, owners are requested to post a notice issued by the government.
You can find a notice to use for your properties at this link: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/local_laws/ll153of2016.pdf.
If you do not already have a notice hanging in a public area of your buildings, post one immediately. Similarly, if you have not yet delivered a notice to each of your tenants detailing proper gas leak procedures, do not hesitate to do so. Failure to comply with this law can result in a violation, which can lead to heavy fines and tremendous aggravation on your part.
We know that NYC code compliance can be burdensome. Jack Jaffa & Associates is here to help you navigate the dozens of regulations and keep you updated on the latest laws. We want to make your life easier!