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A06842 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                         6842

                              2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                    April 19, 2013
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by M. of A. BOYLAND -- read once and referred to the Commit-
         tee on Housing

       AN ACT to amend the real property law, in relation to enforcement of the
         warranty of habitability

         THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section  1.  Legislative  findings and purpose. The legislature hereby
    2  finds that the rental housing market in the state of New York remains in
    3  a state of crisis, due not only to severe shortages in the stock of safe
    4  and affordable housing but also to the state  of  disrepair  and  blight
    5  that  afflicts rental housing opportunities available to people of lower
    6  incomes throughout the state. The legislature  further  finds  that  the
    7  warranty of habitability set forth in section 235-b of the real property
    8  law  represents a critical safeguard of the health and safety of tenants
    9  across the state of New York by requiring that all rental housing accom-
   10  modations be maintained  in  a  safe  and  sanitary  condition  for  the
   11  tenants; that enforcement efforts by the several agencies of the city of
   12  New  York  and the state of New York, although often successful, are not
   13  always sufficient to deter such breaches of the warranty by such  owners
   14  and  landlords,  so  that  in  spite of the protections provided by law,
   15  every year many tenants in the state of New  York  must  endure  housing
   16  conditions  that  fail to meet the basic standards of safety required by
   17  law. In light of the foregoing, the legislature hereby  finds  that  the
   18  state of New York must adopt additional measures to deter the most egre-
   19  gious  breaches  of  the  warranty  of habitability set forth in section
   20  235-b of the real property law, and that the codification of law  award-
   21  ing  punitive  damages to tenants who suffer intentional breaches of the
   22  warranty is an appropriate method to realize such a purpose. The  legis-
   23  lature therefore enacts the following law granting the courts discretion
   24  to  award  punitive  damages in cases where the warranty of habitability
   25  set forth in section 235-b of the real property law is  breached  inten-

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD10352-01-3
       A. 6842                             2

    1  tionally  or  with  conscious  disregard  to  severe  risks to the life,
    2  health, or safety of the tenant.
    3    S 2. Section 235-b of the real property law is amended by adding a new
    4  subdivision 4 to read as follows:
    5    4.  THE  COURT MAY AWARD PUNITIVE DAMAGES TO THE TENANT UPON A FINDING
    6  THAT THE LANDLORD'S BREACH OF THE WARRANTY SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION WAS
    7  INTENTIONAL AND MALICIOUS  OR  DEMONSTRATES  A  CONSCIOUS  DISREGARD  OF
    8  SEVERE RISKS TO THE LIFE, HEALTH, OR SAFETY OF THE TENANT.
    9    S  3.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
   10  have become a law.
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