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Stay Safe In There

With the State’s law newly in effect requiring carbon monoxide detectors in most homes and apartments, now’s the time to get one if you don’t have one – or have demolished it like I did.

I admit it. I ripped mine off the wall – not one, but two – those combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors that have become standard, in apartments at least in the City.  The first one, outside my bedroom, starting beeping madly in the middle of the night to alert me to the fact that its batteries were losing juice. When I couldn’t shut the damn thing up, I took self help and wrestled it to the floor, ripping my pajamas in the process. The second did exactly what it was supposed to do, blaring an alarm when the smoke from grilling hamburgers outside on my terrace made its way inside.  Unable to quiet it down, I pulled it off its mooring it a rage of barbeque hubris.

OK, I was stupid.  I admit it.  But I didn’t want to be a criminal subject to penalties in two jurisdictions, so I decided to put them both back now that the State’s new law has gone into effect. By all accounts the detectors are flying off the shelves, though for most of us Big Apple apartment dwellers, the law is just a reminder because the City here has made them obligatory since 2004.

In case you don’t know, under the City’s Law if you live in a co-op or condo it’s up to boards and owners to decide who’s responsible for installing the detectors, which usually means the building installs them and makes you pay.

So long as we’re trying to stay out of danger on the home front, don’t forget about window guards, required by law in all apartments with kids under ten, or if you request them.  If you live in a co-op the building – not you – is responsible for installing and repairing them as one board in the landmark Premier case awhile back found out when its members almost faced criminal indictment after a child fell to his death from unguarded windows. It’s the reverse in condos, where as your own landlord, you are responsible for installing and fixing window guards.

Only lots of co-op boards like to act as their own governments, and are using their alteration agreements, including the new model Agreement recently proposed by the NYC Bar, as a means to shift the burden to shareholders to install all this legally mandated stuff as a condition for approving your renovations.  In the scheme of alterations that require buckets of money, the cost is insignificant, just another way to show you who’s in charge.

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