New Legislation Bolsters Fire Safety Enforcement and Education

New Legislation Bolsters Fire Safety Enforcement and Education

By Thomas Romero

Following the Bronx fire that claimed 17 lives earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed into law five pieces of fire safety legislation. The new laws reduce the timeline for correcting certain violations, impose stiffer penalties for failure to cure violations, and ban the sale of space heaters that lack certain safety features. In addition, the measures eliminate filing fees for repairing fire damage in one- to three-family homes and expand fire safety education.

Self-Closing Doors Defined

Intro. 104 clarifies the definition of a “self-closing door” as “a door equipped with a device that will ensure the door, when opened and released, returns to the closed position and latches shut.” Local Law 111 of 2018 requires owners of multiple dwellings (residential buildings of 3+ units) to install self-closing doors for providing access to stairs and interior corridors.

Changes in Violations

Intro. 105 reduces the timeline for correcting self-closing door violations from 21 days to 14 days. In addition, the legislation requires HPD to reinspect these violations no later than 20 days after the 14-day correction period expires.

Building owners who fail to correct self-closing door violations face increased penalties of $250-$500 for the violation itself and a $250 daily penalty from the correction deadline until the violation is cured.

False certification of corrections for Class A, B, and C violations of the Housing Maintenance Code will also incur higher civil penalties.

New Space Heater Requirements

Intro. 106 prohibits the sale of electric space heaters that do not automatically shut off if the heater falls over or overheats. Also, space heaters sold in New York City must be labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Expanded Fire Safety Education

Intro. 131 requires the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to provide educational materials and to conduct public outreach regarding the safe use of electric space heaters in residences. Such materials will be available in the top 10 most common languages in New York City. These requirements augment the agency’s ongoing fire safety education efforts.

No DOB Filing Fees for Certain Repairs

Intro. 155 eliminates DOB filing fees for permits to repair fire damage in one-, two-, and three-family homes. If construction defects are found at these fire-damaged locations, the fee exemption will extend to other dwellings in the same homeowner or cooperative association to correct the same defects.

For questions regarding this new legislation, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.