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Proposed Indoor Air Quality Legislation: Rewarding Building Maintenance

Written by Lillie Reiter

Most people who have rented an apartment or house have encountered a building maintenance problem that wasn't immediately taken care of. The teamat Environmental Solutions Group have encountered many tenants who have unresolved or incorrectly addressed building maintenance issues. Besides being an annoyance, issues such as roaches, mice, and mold have been linked to asthma, mold sensitivities, and other health issues.

Rosie MendezThe good news is a bill in New York City was recently put up for approval to improve this common situation. Coming from Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, the Asthma Free Housing Bill would place a higher burden on the landlords to address problematic building issues. The bill would establish penalties for failing to improve building conditions in a timely manner and reward for proper maintenance procedures. For example, landlords would be rewarded for fixing the underlying issue causing mold instead of cosmetically painting over it.

This bill, if passed, would be instrumental in improving indoor environmental quality for renters throughout NYC (69% of the total population of the city rents). According to the Coalition for Asthma Free Housing, in many low-income NYC areas:

  • The childhood asthma rate is 1 in 4
  • Evidence suggests cockroaches are the leading trigger
  • Only 39% of tenants who sued their landlord saw changes
  • Of that 39%, less than 1/4 saw changes within six months of the initial issue

While this data is based on NYC residents, it can be extrapolated that a similar situation is happening throughout the United States. If the bill is successful in NYC, similar ideas and legislation will hopefully spread throughout the country.

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