NY Landlords and Sellers Must Disclose Flood Risks
Due to unprecedented rainfall and disastrous flooding, New York laws require that sellers of residential properties disclose to buyers, and landlords disclose to tenants, known flood risks.
NY RESIDENTIAL LEASE DISCLOSURES
NY Real Property Law Sec. 231-B, effective June 21, 2023, requires every residential lease disclose any prior flood damage to the leased premises due to a natural flood event, such as heavy rainfall, coastal storm surge, tidal inundation, or river overflow, that the landlord knows or reasonably should know has occurred to such premises and the nature of any such damage.
The lease must also disclose whether the property is within a FEMA designated floodplain or the 100-year or 500-year floodplain. Unlike the law concerning property sales, the landlord is required to determine this. This disclosure is not limited to what the landlord already knows. For most locations, this information can be obtained online from the FEMA Flood Map Service Center by entering the address and clicking on “Dynamic Map.”
Residential leases must also provide notice that flood insurance is available to tenants through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program: “to cover your personal property and contents in the event of a flood. 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.”
NY REAL ESTATE CONTRACT DISCLOSURES
NY Real Property Law Sec. 462(2) was amended effective March 20, 2024.by adding several items to the Property Condition Disclosure Statement that sellers of one- to four-family dwellings must provide to buyers before signing a contract of sale. However, the law does not apply to condominium units, cooperative apartments, or unimproved property on which housing will be built. All these items are to be “based upon the seller’s actual knowledge at the time of signing” the statement.
Among the new items that must be disclosed are whether:
- the structure has “experienced any water penetration or damage due to seepage or a natural flood event”;
- a claim for flood damage has been filed with an insurance company;
- the property is in a floodplain designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and
- whether the property has, or is required to have, flood insurance.
If after providing the disclosure statement but before the closing the seller acquires knowledge which renders the statement materially inaccurate, the seller is required to provide the buyer with a revised statement.
Sellers were permitted to avoid providing a Property Condition Disclosure Statement by reducing the purchase price by $500. The new law eliminates this option for all items on the Disclosure Statement.
Sellers will be liable only for a willful failure to perform the requirements of this law. For such a willful failure, the seller shall be liable for the actual damages suffered by the buyer in addition to any other existing equitable or statutory remedy.
Call or text experienced Buffalo Landlord Tenant Attorneys Justin Friedman and Robert Friedman at 716.543.3764 for guidance on protecting yourself as a NY landlord.