November 9, 2015
By Tara Jessup
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law Council Member James Vacca’s legislation that will allow the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) to repair broken elevators under their Emergency Repair Program.
Previously, the city could only make emergency repairs when private landlords failed to repair hazardous conditions such as heat and hot water problems. The emergency repair program did not apply to elevators. Vacca’s legislation, which was inspired by local elevator outages in the Bronx, establishes an emergency repair program for elevators in which the City would be allowed to determine such emergencies, make the necessary repairs, and then bill the property owner. This would reduce the duration of outages in residential buildings that have confined some tenants – especially the elderly, persons with disabilities, and those with young children – to their apartments for months on end.
“Working elevators are a necessity, not a luxury to the numerous residents of New York City who live in apartment buildings,” said Council Member James Vacca. “No one, especially not persons with disabilities, the elderly, expectant mothers, or families with young children should be stranded in their homes simply because a landlord has failed to repair an elevator in a timely manner. My legislation will enable the city to treat prolonged elevator outages the same as heat and hot water complaints, requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to consider emergency elevator violations as part of the emergency repair program. After months of negotiations, I believe this is strong legislation that will positively affect the lives of countless New Yorkers.”