BILL NO A09159
SAME AS SAME AS S03584
Add S15, Mult Dwell L
Grants the commissioner of buildings of New York City the power to waive
provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to construction or
alteration of multiple dwellings.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation
to granting the commissioner of buildings of the city of New York the
power to waive provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to
the construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in such city
This proposed legislation would authorize the Commissioner of
Buildings of the City of New York to vary or modify a provision or
requirement of the Multiple Dwelling Law in its application to the
construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in New York City,
where strict compliance with such law would cause practical
difficulties or unnecessary hardships.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends the Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) by adding a new
section 15 to provide that in a city of one million or more, the
Commissioner of buildings of such city is authorized to vary or modify
any provision of the MDL when compliance with the strict letter of the
MDL produces undue hardship and a variation or modification would be
neither contrary to the spirit and intent of the MDL nor contrary to
the preservation of public health, safety, and welfare.
Section two provides that this act shall take effect immediately.
Under current law, the provisions of the Multiple Dwelling Law cannot
be modified or varied by the Commissioner of Buildings for a City with
a population of one million or more.
The Commissioner of Buildings already may waive provisions of the
Building Code pursuant to section 645 of the New York City Charter.
This act would extend the Commissioner's waiver to the Multiple
Dwelling Law (MDL), in order to address unique circumstances in the
construction or alteration of buildings in New York City and that may
cause practical difficulties in complying with provisions of the MDL.
Currently, only the Board of Standards and Appeals may issue variances
of the Multiple Dwelling Law in New York City. Nothing in this
proposed legislation would affect this power of the Board of Standards
and Appeals. This act would simply allow the agency to which an
application. is made to vary provisions of a law it is already
authorized to enforce, thus streamlining the approval of permit
This legislation will encourage safety-enhancing alterations in the
thousands of New York City buildings constructed under the precursor
to the MDL, the State Tenement Law of 1901 or 1929, or the building
Codes of 1938. These are mostly wood-framed, non-fireproof buildings.
The MDL has, in many cases, proven so prescriptive as to deter even
simple alterations that would make these buildings safer. As a result,
building owners allow the buildings to deteriorate, and tenants suffer
For example, a five-story tenement building in Manhattan may have
wooden stairs, doors that open directly into the stairway, and
inadequate egress -taken together, a substantial safety risk. For an
owner to upgrade or improve any of these individual features, the
entire building may need to brought up to a standard under the MDL
that is, as a practical matter, impossible, because of the physical
layout of the building. Faced with a choice of a gut renovation or
doing nothing, an owner might reasonably choose the latter course.
If, however, the Buildings Department could grant a waiver of the MDL,
improvements could be made that would substantially increase the
safety of the building. Wooden stairs could be replaced with metal
stairs, sprinklers could be installed and doors could be adjusted -
even if the stairs don't meet the required width called for under the
2012: S.5484 - 3rd Reading
2011: S.5484 - Passed Senate
It is not anticipated that this legislation will have any significant
fiscal impact on the State
This act shall take effect immediately.
S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N A S S E M B L Y
March 24, 2014
Introduced by M. of A. WEPRIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
AN ACT to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to granting the
commissioner of buildings of the city of New York the power to waive
provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to the
construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in such city
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
1 Section 1. The multiple dwelling law is amended by adding a new
2 section 15 to read as follows:
3 S 15. VARIATIONS. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF THIS
4 CHAPTER, FOR MULTIPLE DWELLINGS ERECTED, TO BE ERECTED OR ALTERED IN ANY
5 CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE, WHERE COMPLIANCE WITH THE
6 STRICT LETTER OF THIS CHAPTER CAUSES ANY PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES OR ANY
7 UNNECESSARY HARDSHIPS, THE COMMISSIONER OF BUILDINGS OF SUCH CITY SHALL
8 HAVE THE POWER, PROVIDED THE SPIRIT AND INTENT OF THIS CHAPTER ARE MAIN-
9 TAINED AND PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE ARE PRESERVED, TO VARY OR
10 MODIFY ANY PROVISION OR REQUIREMENT OF THIS CHAPTER.
11 S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.