NY Passes Bill Easing Restrictions on Condo Conversions for Small Buildings

By Hamodia Staff

A small condo building in Brooklyn. (Google Maps)

NEW YORK — The New York state Legislature has passed a bill that would make it easier for apartments in small residential buildings to be converted into condominiums.

The legislation would permit the owner of a building containing five or fewer units to convert a unit into a condo when just 15% of the tenants agree to have this done.  The current law, passed as part of the state’s far-reaching 2019 real-estate reforms, requires 51% tenant approval. Previously, the law had been 15% for buildings of all sizes. The new legislation returns the threshold to 15%, but only for buildings with five or fewer units.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and Sen. Andrew Gounardes, overwhelmingly passed the Legislature earlier this month, and awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

If the bill is signed into law, a tenant occupying a unit in a three-, four- or five-family home will now have the option to negotiate the purchase of his own apartment without requiring approval from the other tenants in the building. 

Supporters of the bill say it would encourage landlords to maintain and improve their apartments so that renters may decide to purchase them. 

“The current law posed too many restrictions on apartment dwellers and owners of buildings with five units or less, “said Eichenstein. “This made it extremely difficult for any such building to convert to a condominium and for individual apartments to be bought or sold. In my district and elsewhere, this new legislation will create new opportunities for hard working New Yorkers to buy or sell their homes easily.”

“For millions of New Yorkers, home ownership can often feel like an impossible dream,” said Gounardes. “My bill … would take a step towards moving that dream of home-ownership within reach for many, by making it easier for renters to purchase their current homes. The complexity of our city’s affordable housing crisis will require thoughtful, multi-pronged solutions; legislation like this bill that makes home-ownership more accessible must be a crucial part of that conversation.”

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