You wanted in. At first, you were thrilled to be in your new home. Everyone has “ooh’ed and aah’ed” over the appliances, the finishes, and the view.
However, like any love affair, the sheen has quickly worn off. You realize that the proverbial warts you are now seeing on those appliances, in the floors, and perhaps even in the plumbing, are going to require major surgery, and not just an over-the-counter drugstore type fix.
Although the law in this area is not straightforward, nor does it make a whole lot of sense, the law does provide some possible remedies.
In New York State, if you have purchased an apartment in a building that is five stories or less, a statute may allow you to force the developer to pay for the correction of the issues in your apartment and restore your love affair.
However, in order to take advantage of this law you will need to pay close attention to the kinds of defects at issue and also to the time frames that the law provides. Here is a brief overview of the timing of the warranties:
• For one year your home must be free from defects caused by workmanship or materials that do not meet the standards of the NYC Building Code or are not in accordance with locally accepted building practices.
• For two years, the plumbing, electrical, heating cooling and ventilation systems must be free from defects caused by unskilled installation.
• For six years, your home must be free from physical defects in the structural elements (foundations, floors, walls, roof framing) which make it unsafe or unlivable.
On the other hand, for buildings of six stories or more, the real estate developer is not bound by the same rule. Therefore, if you live in a taller building, you will need to have an attorney carefully review the offering plan to see what type of warranty, if any, the real estate developer provided.
You should also have an attorney check your contract along with the architect’s report in the offering plan. If there are material deviations from the offering plan in your unit, or if the contract contains specific warranties, you may be able to demand that the developer make repairs and restore your lost love.
Deborah B. Koplovitz is a shareholder in Anderson Kill’s New York office with a focus on cooperative and condominium law, real estate and litigation.