A three-year-old boy playing with the stove in his mother’s apartment started a fire that killed 12 people in a Bronx building last December. In response, the city council passed Local Law 117, which requires owners of units in multifamily buildings to provide covers for the knobs on each gas stove in apartments where children under the age of six live. Owners must also make the knob covers available to residents without children if they ask for them.
The question is: does the law apply to co-op and condo boards?
“The law is written so poorly,” says attorney Deborah Koplovitz, a shareholder at Anderson Kill. “It says the ‘owner of a unit’ – it doesn’t say the ‘owner of the building.’ So if I were representing a co-op or a condo board on this, I might even argue that it doesn’t apply to co-op and condo buildings; it applies to the individual owner of the unit.” That complicates things. While the language of the law excludes co-ops and condos, it includes any units that are being rented or sublet. A condo unit-owner or co-op shareholder would be considered the owner of the unit – and thus responsible for making the covers available to their tenant or subletter.
Read more: Got Your Stove Knobs Covered