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Council Member Vallone Announces New Department of Finance Mechanism to Finally Recognize and Record Restrictive Covenants in NYC

Council Member Vallone Announces New Department of Finance Mechanism to Finally Recognize and Record Restrictive Covenants in NYC

January 19, 2016

For the first time, property owners and homeowner associations will be able to record existing restrictive covenants on properties throughout the City on the Department of Finance’s (DOF) Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). As a result of the Council Member’s pending legislation and negotiations with City Agencies, Council Member Vallone and the DOF agreed to establish a new two-step process to record restrictive covenants in the City of New York. The first establishes a new specific deed document type for properties with an existing restrictive covenant to be recorded at the time of sale or transfer of the property, making it easier to search specifically for restrictive covenants. The second allows anyone to record an existing restrictive covenant with the newly created “Notice of Homeowner Association Restrictive Covenants” form. This document, once filed, will advise the public and the owner of the property, of the existence of the applicable restrictive covenant that previously was unknown or unrecorded. Also, the information will be publicly available and searchable online through ACRIS.

A restrictive covenant is a clause in a deed or lease to real property that creates property restrictions which are subject to a court’s enforcement. These private covenants, place certain important restrictions and limitations on properties but prior today, the City never allowed a transparent mechanism for recording or protecting them. Where they do exist, such as in the Broadway-Flushing and Douglas Manor neighborhoods, they have been instrumental in preserving the residential quality of life that rarely exists anywhere else in the City.

“Prior to the creation of this process, there has never been any progress on preserving restrictive covenants either by elected officials or previous administrations.  We took the community’s long standing battle to City Hall and delivered exactly what we said we would,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Now the City will immediately recognize any newly filed restrictive covenants and allow every property owner, interested party, civic or homeowner association, the right to record and preserve them. We look forward to continuing our work with our associations to create additional layers of security against any over development and to protect our beautiful neighborhoods.”

“We are pleased that we were able to help Council Member Vallone and homeowners throughout the city by giving more transparency to land records for properties that have restrictive covenants,” said Samara Karasyk, Assistant Commissioner of External Affairs for the DOF.

“The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association gratefully acknowledges the efforts by Councilmember Paul Vallone to enable the city of New York to acknowledge the existence and validity of restrictive covenants.  For the first time, homeowner associations will be able to provide the Department of Finance with pertinent information, and the public will be able to access the information on ACRIS.  We will continue to strive towards the ultimate goal of a coordination of efforts between the Department of Buildings and the Department of Finance, but the announcement today comes as another step towards a more positive outcome for future construction and renovation projects in neighborhoods like Broadway-Flushing with enforceable restrictive covenants,” said Robert J. Hanophy, Jr., President of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association

“The Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc., is pleased to learn that the NYC Department of Finance (DOF) has agreed to allow property owners and homeowner associations to record existing restrictive covenants, aka deed restrictions, into that agency’s Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS),” said Terri Pouymari, President of the Auburndale Improvement Association. “We thank Council Member Paul Vallone for negotiating with the DOF and other city agencies and working on legislation that will make this type of registration a reality. This will allow all stakeholders to be aware of properties that have restrictive covenants on them and afford a greater degree of transparency when properties are sold.”

“The Westmoreland Association is pleased to learn that the City is going to allow homeowners groups like ours to register the protective covenants in our neighborhoods,” said Walter Mugdan, President.  “This is an important development, and we thank Councilman Vallone for his support on this matter.”

To view the newly created form, click below.

Notice of Homeowner Association Restrictive Covenants