A New Disclosure Obligation Affecting Cooperatives, Condominiums, and Residential Rental Properties

Section 231-b of the New York State Real Property Law was recently amended to require that every residential lease for a property in the State of New York – which includes proprietary leases, cooperative subleases and condominium unit leases and subleases – must provide notice to the prospective tenant/subtenant of the current flood risk and previous flood history of the property which is being leased or in which the apartment being leased is located.

The disclosure must advise the tenant if any or all of the leased premises is located wholly or partially in a Federal Emergency Agency (“FEMA”) designated floodplain, Special Flood Hazard Area (the 100-year floodplain), or Moderate Risk Flood Hazard Area (the 500-year floodplain) according to FEMA’s current Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the leased premises’ area; and must inform the tenant of any prior flood damage to the leased premises due to a natural flood event (e.g. heavy rainfall, coastal storm surge, tidal inundation, or river overflow), that the lessor or sublessor (including any cooperative board issuing a proprietary lease or shareholder or unit owner leasing his or her apartment) knows or reasonably should know has occurred to such premises and the nature of any such damage.

Because the relevant information is subject to change over time, Cooperative and Condominium Boards should work with their management teams to obtain and regularly update this information to provide this information to the shareholders and unit owners of the building as required by law.

Additionally, every residential lease must include the following notice:

“Flood insurance is generally available to renters through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (“FEMA”) National Flood Insurance Program to cover your personal property and contents in the event of a flood. Contact FEMA for rates. A standard renter’s insurance policy does not typically cover flood damage. You are encouraged to examine your policy to determine whether you are covered.”

We have extensive experiencing representing owners/landlords, cooperative boards, and condominium boards. If you have any questions regarding the Real Property Law Section 231-b disclosure requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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