From the Brooklyn Eagle:
A new City Council bill would allow the Buildings Department to seek court orders that would compel building owners and managers to let inspectors enter buildings suspected of having hazardous conditions and committing serious violations.
This bill has now received the support of Community Board 10, serving Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
While the committee supports the bill’s concept, [Ann] Falutico said, the bill as written is flawed and needs clarification. She said it particularly needs specific and much clearer definitions of “immediately hazardous” conditions and “major violations.”
“We do not want inspectors entering homes for any willy-nilly reason, and there must be consistency,” said Falutico. “If the law does not pass constitutional muster for the issuance of warrants, it will quickly become irrelevant. We want this law to work.”
The bill also does not address urgent emergency situations that require immediate inspections without a court order, such as a complaint about a propane heater being used, she added. “Two visits, one mailing, and 10 days for [an] application for and [an] execution of a court order may be a wee bit too long to prevent an impending explosion. A rapid response is necessary.”
The bill requires the DOB, upon getting a complaint, to send an inspector. If twice refused entry, the owner gets certified mail requesting the inspection and a date for it. Without a reply within 10 days, and if the commissioner considers the situation to be of imminent danger or a major violation, the commissioner is required to seek a court order to enter the building.