The New York City Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings, Chaired by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, held a hearing on Int. 462, a bill by Council Member James Vacca regarding the establishment of an emergency repair program for elevators. The Committee received testimony from representatives of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Department of Buildings (DOB), legal service providers, members of the real estate industry, and other interested members of the public.
The DOB's Elevator Division is responsible for overseeing the use and operation of New York City's elevators. Under the law, this oversight includes an annual inspection of each of the City's approximately 60,000 elevators. HPD does not currently have a role with respect to elevator maintenance, however, HPD does have the power to correct Housing Maintenance Code violations determined to be dangerous to human life and safety or detrimental to health.
This legislation would require DOB to refer to HPD immediately hazardous elevator-related violations that have not been corrected within the stated time for compliance. It would also allow HPD to correct such violations or to order the owner of the building or other responsible party to correct the violations.
"Unlike for issues such as leaky roofs, mold, broken windows or a lack of heat and hot water, tenants have few options when an elevator is need of emergency repairs and the owner has failed to make those repairs," said Council Member Williams during the hearing. "Last week alone, the Department of Buildings fielded 182 complaints about elevators citywide. It is clear that this is a major issue for many community members, especially those who are less mobile and require an elevator to get to their apartment. I applaud Council Member Vacca for introducing this legislation which will help resolve this issue."
"In a city where millions of residents live in high rise buildings, working elevators are a necessity, not a luxury. Prolonged elevator outages create an unsafe living condition for residents, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities," said Council Member Vacca.