By Tom Momberg
Restrictive covenants, binding legal requirements included in real-estate transactions by a seller, may soon be recorded into the city Department of Finance’s Automated City Register Information System, also known as ACRIS.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) introduced legislation into the Council, with the backing of the Department of Finance, to implement a two-step process for homeowners and homeowners associations to record both existing and new restrictive covenants in the electronic database.
Vallone said his bill would provide the city’s very first system for safeguarding property restrictions not necessarily included within zoning.
“We took the community’s longstanding battle to City Hall and delivered exactly what we said we would,” Vallone said in a statement. “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 overdevelopment and to protect our beautiful neighborhoods.”
Proponents of the bill said it would provide transparency in real-estate transactions, which include restrictive covenant clauses in residential deeds, and give the city and the public a better tool for being able to hold property owners responsible for maintaining those restrictions.
“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 Hanophy, Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association president.
ACRIS currently allows the public to search property records and view real-estate documents for every privately owned parcel in the five boroughs. Vallone’s legislation is pending, but once civics and landowners start recording restrictive covenants, they too can be viewed on ACRIS at a836-
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb