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New bills preventing fines on homes of Sandy victims signed into law

Faulty fines be gone.

Two local pols have penned a package of bills aimed at protecting homeowners from fines issued to them during disaster recovery programs or the rebuilding of their home after a natural disaster.

The bills, voted on and unanimously passed in the City Council on Thursday, May 5, were signed into law on Tuesday, May 10 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, an outcome that Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Alan Maisel – the two sponsors of the bill – are very happy about.

“We heard from many New Yorkers, for whom Hurricane Sandy is an ongoing part of their lives, about building code violations they received for homes still awaiting Build-it-Back construction starts and sanitation violations they received for failing to maintain properties they are still unable to occupy,” Treyger said. “This common sense legislation will prevent these administrative injustices from recurring during the remainder of Sandy recovery and all future recovery processes. It also sets up a framework for repaying those who have previously been fined for conditions which are covered by the provisions of this bill.”

Through the bill, property owners, lessees or occupants will be protected from civil or criminal fines and penalties from either Department of Buildings or Department of Sanitation violations while city-operated natural disaster recovery programs evaluate or schedule their properties for repair.

“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, in my district alone, we saw hundreds of property owners struggle to find licensed professionals for needed recovery work,” said Maisel. “New York City’s Rapid Repairs and Build It Back programs were formed and while the intention was good, some of the recovery efforts may have resulted in property owners receiving fines for that same work which was completed by the city recovery programs’ designated contractors. In these cases, it is critical that the city not penalize property owners for joining a program that elected officials and city agencies directed them to join.”

“People should not be penalized when a building or sanitation violation is caused by something outside of their control, like a disaster or a recovery program,” added Treyger. “Penalizing these people would serve no public purpose.”

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