A00780 Summary:

SPONSORRosenthal L
Amd §235-b, RP L
Relates to the installation of radiator covers.
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A00780 Actions:

01/11/2023referred to housing
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A00780 Committee Votes:

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A00780 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Rosenthal L
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property law, in relation to the installation of radiator covers   PURPOSE: This bill requires managers of residential buildings, if requested by a tenant, to install radiator covers in units where a child twelve years or younger resides.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one amends Section 235-b of the real property law by inserting a new subdivision 2 and renumbering the current subdivisions accordingly: § 235-b(2Xa): If a child age twelve or younger resides within a tenant's dwelling, a landlord shall, at the written request of the tenant, be responsible for installing a radiator cover on any uncovered radiator that carries fluids at one hundred sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit or higher and is located in the tenant's dwelling. The Landlord shall have ninety days after receipt of such request to complete the installation. § 235-b(2)(b): The failure of the landlord to install a radiator cover or covers within the ninety day period, following a written request by the tenant, shall be deemed a hazard to the occupants, age 12 or young- er. In any case in which a tenant shall make a payment in order to install a requested radiator cover, following the failure of the land- lord to install such cover in the appropriate time, the tenant may deduct the reasonable cost of such installation from the rent and shall not be liable for eviction on the grounds of that deduction. Section two sets forth the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: On March 10, 2009, the New York State Appellate Division Court, Second Department, ruled in Utkan v Szuwala that landlords are not responsible for protecting children from properly operating radiators. In the case, the plaintiff; Ms. Utkan wanted to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by her infant after it was burned by an exposed radiator. Ms.Utkan contacted her landlord Ms. Szuwala about the infant's injuries and requested that she provide a radiator cover to prevent future inci- dents. Ms. Szuwala refused, and when the child was injured on an addi- tional occasion, Ms. Utkan brought her case to court. In the Appellate Division's order of dismissal, they cited Rivera v Nelson Realty, LLC (7 NY3d at 532), which states that Plaintiffs do not claim that the radiator that injured the infant plaintiff needed repair, or was defective in any way. Plaintiffs claim is that an uncovered radi- ator in good working order, though not a hazard in a home occupied only by adults, is dangerous to children. No duty to remedy this alleged hazard is imposed by the Multiple Dwelling Law or arises under common law by virtue of the lease. Accordingly, any duty to protect children from uncovered radiators remains that of the tenant, unless some other statute or regulation imposes it on the land lord. THE DECISION WHETHER RADIATOR COVERS MUST BE SUPPLIED BY LANDLORDS IS THUS LEFT TO LEGISLA- TORS AND REGULATORS, who are in the best position to balance the harm prevented by this safety measure against its cost - a cost which, if imposed on landlords, becomes part of the overall cost of rental hous- ing." Due to the Appellate Division's deferral to the State Legislature for clarification on this issue, I am introducing legislation to require landlords to install radiator covers, per written request, in units in which a child twelve years or younger resides. This action will decrease future injuries to children due to extremely hot radiators and clarify a landlord's responsibility for their safe operation.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2021-22: A.1669 - Referred to Housing 2019-20: A.701 - Referred to Housing 2017-18: A.553 - Referred to Housing 2015-16: A.225 - Reported to Rules; S.795 - Referred to Judiciary 2013-14: A.749 - Passed Assembly; S.4243 - Referred to Judiciary 2011-12: A.3181 - Reported to Codes   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
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A00780 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2023-2024 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 11, 2023
        Introduced  by  M. of A. L. ROSENTHAL, FAHY -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Housing
        AN ACT to amend the real property law, in relation to  the  installation
          of radiator covers
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Section 235-b of the real property law, as added by chapter
     2  597 of the laws of 1975, subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 403 of  the
     3  laws  of 1983, paragraph (c) of subdivision 3 as added by chapter 116 of
     4  the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows:
     5    § 235-b. Warranty of habitability. 1. In every written or  oral  lease
     6  or  rental  agreement  for  residential  premises the landlord or lessor
     7  shall be deemed to covenant and warrant that the premises so  leased  or
     8  rented  and  all areas used in connection therewith in common with other
     9  tenants or residents are fit for  human  habitation  and  for  the  uses
    10  reasonably  intended by the parties and that the occupants of such prem-
    11  ises shall not be subjected to any conditions which would be  dangerous,
    12  hazardous  or detrimental to their life, health or safety. When any such
    13  condition has been caused by the misconduct of the tenant or  lessee  or
    14  persons under his direction or control, it shall not constitute a breach
    15  of such covenants and warranties.
    16    2.  (a)  If a child of age twelve or younger resides within a tenant's
    17  dwelling a landlord shall, at the written  request  of  the  tenant,  be
    18  responsible  for  the  installation of a radiator cover on any uncovered
    19  radiator that: carries steam, water, or  other  fluids  at  temperatures
    20  exceeding  one  hundred sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit; are not currently
    21  covered in a manner that ensures  that  the  temperature  of  the  outer
    22  surface  does  not  exceed  one hundred nine degrees Fahrenheit; and are
    23  located in the tenant's dwelling. The landlord shall  have  ninety  days
    24  after  receipt of such written request to complete the installation of a
    25  radiator cover or covers.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 780                              2
     1    (b) Any failure of the landlord to install a radiator cover,  pursuant
     2  to  paragraph  (a)  of  this subdivision, shall be deemed to subject the
     3  occupants of the dwelling to conditions dangerous, hazardous, or  detri-
     4  mental  to  their life, health, or safety. In any case in which a tenant
     5  shall  make  a payment in order to install a requested radiator cover or
     6  covers, following the failure of the landlord  to  install  such  covers
     7  within  ninety days of receiving a written request pursuant to paragraph
     8  (a) of this subdivision, the tenant may deduct from the rent the reason-
     9  able cost for the installation and shall not be liable for  eviction  on
    10  the ground of that deduction.
    11    3.  Any agreement by a lessee or tenant of a dwelling waiving or modi-
    12  fying his rights as set forth in this section shall be void as  contrary
    13  to public policy.
    14    [3]  4.  In determining the amount of damages sustained by a tenant as
    15  a result of a breach of the warranty  set  forth  in  the  section,  the
    16  court[;]:
    17    (a) need not require any expert testimony; [and]
    18    (b)  shall,  to the extent the warranty is breached or cannot be cured
    19  by reason of a strike or other labor dispute which is not caused  prima-
    20  rily by the individual landlord or lessor and such damages are attribut-
    21  able  to  such  strike,  exclude  recovery to such extent, except to the
    22  extent of the net savings, if any, to the landlord or lessor  by  reason
    23  of  such  strike  or  labor  dispute allocable to the tenant's premises,
    24  provided, however, that the landlord or [lesser] lessor has made a  good
    25  faith attempt, where practicable, to cure the breach[.]; and
    26    (c)  where the premises is subject to regulation pursuant to the local
    27  emergency housing rent control law, the emergency tenant protection  act
    28  of nineteen seventy-four, the rent stabilization law of nineteen hundred
    29  sixty-nine  or  the  city rent and rehabilitation law, reduce the amount
    30  awarded hereunder by the total amount of any rent reduction  ordered  by
    31  the  state  division  of  housing and community renewal pursuant to such
    32  laws or act, awarded to the tenant, from the effective date of such rent
    33  reduction order, that relates to one or more matters for which relief is
    34  awarded hereunder.
    35    § 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    36  have become a law.
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