MASK PULLED OFF SECRET TENEMENT LLC OWNERS
By Edie Johnson
Good news from upstate was delivered on Monday by Senator James Skoufis, Assemblymen Jonathan Jacobson and Ken Zebrowski. The so-called LLC law that they have been working to get passed for several years has been signed by Governor Cuomo and goes into effect immediately. All housing units in New York State with 1-4 family units must provide full disclosure of owners. At a press conference in front of one such tenement building at 230 City Terrace in the City of Newburgh that has had code violations 2 1/2 years and is condemned. Orders from the court are ignored. Skoufis described the misery and dangers this type of situation places onto neighbors, who have a fundamental right to a decent quality of life, and indeed entire neighborhoods. It depresses values and standard of living for all in the area, and conditions in the inside often pose not only threats of fire and broken pipes, but leave fire personnel in very dangerous situations because of temporary walls, patchwork electrical connections and the like. And these are just the type of locations where numerous fires have been occurring.
But Newburgh is hardly the only municipality dealing with the “Unknown LLC Owner” scenario. The Village of South Blooming Grove has been faced with dozens of violations at residents at homes listed only as owned by an LLC. Not only can’t they enforce some of these code violations, but they also have a major problem trying to collect on fines. The problem exists both with homes listed for sale as with an LLC owner, but also with rentals. The new law was drafted after a similar law passed in New York City.
From now on a buyer or seller cannot close on a deal and get a deed without disclosure of all owners. Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson said that the City of Newbugh has been trying for years to get a landlord registry in place. He added that this new law will have an immediate impact in the City of Newburgh and surrounding towns, and that this is another sign of the significant progress that this year’s elected officials have accomplished.
Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said “, Bills like this finally have a spokesperson in the House. LLC’s were set up though make it easier for small businesses to function rather than having to form a corporation, but it was never meant for people to hide behind. It requires full disclosure of any owners, shareholders and legal representatives.
Kevin Radday of the group Preserve Blooming Grove said “We are greatly appreciative of Senator Skoufis and this new LLC disclosure Law. It is about time the veil of secrecy comes off these rogue LLCs, especially those in residential neighborhoods.”
What about larger housing units above the 1-4 specified in the law, and small commercial businesses with similar issues operating under an LLC? Skoufis said “We can’t solve everything in a day, but we certainly will be looking into it”.