Stay Informed and Secure: Essential Flood Disclosure Updates for Current and Prospective Co-op Lessees

November 7, 2023

In the wake of New York's proactive legislative strides, there's a pivotal update that co-op unit owners and potential purchasers must be aware of. The recent enactment of Section 231-B of the New York Real Property Law mandates a critical addition to all leases, including those unique to co-op living – proprietary leases.

This statute is a direct response to the increasing frequency of climate-related flooding events, such as the devastating Hurricane Ida, which have particularly impacted our communities. The law now requires landlords to provide a comprehensive flood history of the property, focusing solely on natural flood events rather than incidental occurrences like plumbing issues.

Why is this important for you? Knowledge is power. Understanding whether your current or future home is situated in a FEMA Floodplain, Special Flood Hazard Area, or Moderate Risk Flood Hazard Area is crucial. FEMA's user-friendly interactive map and NYC Planning’s Zola tool are invaluable resources for this information, empowering you to make informed decisions about your living space.

For co-op boards and landlords, compliance is key. Although there are ongoing legislative discussions to potentially exempt co-operative proprietary leases from these requirements, the current mandate stands firm. The New York Housing and Preservation Department has even developed a Model Notice to streamline this process, ensuring that your proprietary leases are up to date and legally sound.

While the statute does not specify penalties for noncompliance, it's important to recognize the potential liability risks. Ensuring that your co-op's documentation includes these flood disclosures is not just about adhering to the law—it's about demonstrating a commitment to transparency and the well-being of your residents.

As a real estate law firm with a keen focus on co-operative living, we're here to guide you through these changes. Whether you're a co-op board member seeking to update your leases or a prospective buyer eager to understand the implications of your investment, our expertise is at your service. Stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your co-op experience is both safe and compliant.

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