New Local Law Requires Parking Garage Inspections LL126 Could Mean Additional Costs for Co-ops & Condos

Parking sign in front of a parking garage downtown

Local Law 126, which mandates the periodic inspection of parking facilities for structural soundness and safety, was passed in 2021 and went into effect in January of this year. The law requires that parking structures be inspected every six years.  

The inspection cycle is staggered:

  • Cycle 1 runs from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023 and includes Manhattan Community Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 

  • Cyle 2 runs from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2025 and includes Manhattan Community Districts 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, and all Brooklyn Community Districts 

  • Cycle 3 runs from January 1, 2026 through December 31, 2027 and includes all Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island Community Districts 

  • Steps for compliance can be found here:

    Genesis of the Law

    According to Chris Alker, vice president of building operations for AKAM, a management firm with offices in New York and Florida, “The City’s new law was predated by a New York State statute under which structures in New York City were exempt while the city wrote and instituted its own version. The original New York State law was precipitated by a couple of parking garage collapses upstate.” Luckily, the type of construction generally used for garages upstate is different from what’s used here in the city - but the incidents upstate served to put lawmakers on notice about the importance of regular, professional inspections of the city’s 1,000-plus parking structures. 

    What Are the Requirements?

    “That’s the million-dollar question,” says Alker. “The law is very new. The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) hasn’t rolled out the details and requirements yet. We are anticipating it will mirror façade inspection requirements under Local Law 11, beginning with a visual inspection to note any and all problems with conditions. Further investigations will be required where there are red flags.  Potential red flags could be things like spalling concrete or signs of water infiltration among other things.”  

    Impact on Co-ops & Condos?

    Alker explains that as it stands, the current building code requires that all buildings - garages included - be kept in good repair as a matter of course. The new bill, though, will require building owners to secure outside engineers to do inspections of parking structures specifically. These engineers will have to be qualified by the City to perform the inspection, and there will also be filing fees to take into account. Any unsafe conditions found during the inspection will generally require immediate action to correct - and those repairs will of course cost money as well.  Noncompliant buildings will face violations and penalties.

    Worst Case Scenario

    In the event that a serious structural problem is found during a garage inspection, a co-op or condo board could be faced with a very difficult decision. For example, “Say there is a problem with a ramp,” says Alker. “The board might have to ask all users to remove their cars,” which of course means that now all the vehicles formerly housed in the garage must now find street parking and abide by street cleaning rules. If the structural problem threatens the building itself - say there were support columns that were compromised - structural support would have to be implemented immediately.”

    In the event the space is leased to an independent operator - a very common arrangement in New York City - the co-op or condo would still be responsible for the initial inspection, any follow-up visits, and any repairs or corrective measures needed to bring the structure into compliance. “The Department of Buildings will hold ownership responsible - not the operator,” says Alker. “If the board elects to pass along the costs of the repairs to the operator it will depend on the lease and what it says.”  Moving forward, Alker expects new leases will reflect this and include provisions to pass along these costs to garage operators.

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