Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package containing four bills aimed at improving tenant safety during emergencies. One of the bills, sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Shelley Mayer, requires owners of multifamily rental buildings to provide tenant information to emergency services personnel upon request. This will assist in evacuations during emergencies like fires or gas leaks. The legislation was introduced following difficulties in locating residents during a fire in Yonkers.
Owners must obtain written consent from tenants to create these lists, and the information can only be used for emergencies. The lists must be updated whenever a lease is created, renewed, or modified. Public housing authorities can update the list during annual recertification of eligibility.
Other legislation in the package includes timely notice from New York City Housing Authority when water is unsafe for drinking or cooking, allowing the executor of a deceased tenant to terminate their lease, and prohibiting the installation of certain security devices without written permission.
Separately, Governor Hochul signed a bill requiring questions on the ballot, such as proposed constitutional amendments, to be written in plain language at an eighth-grade reading level and presented in a Yes or No format. The aim is to make voting more accessible and empower New York residents to make informed decisions.