Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Conveyance of property — See Ch. 29.
Cooperative housing — See Ch. 391.
Human rights — See Ch. 528.
Purchase of mortgages — See Ch. 595.
Nuisance properties — See Ch. 623.
Rental property — See Ch. 696.
656a Uncod LL Pro
[Adopted 12-19-2006 by L.L. No. 1-2007 (Ch. 383, Art. I, of the 1985 Code)]

§ 656-1 Legislative intent.

A. 
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that developers in different parts of the country are selling homes in retirement communities, in which the purchaser buys and owns the home while the developer retains ownership of the land on which the home is installed (as well as the roads, sidewalks and common areas in the communities). The homeowners in those communities lease the property on which their home is installed.
B. 
This Legislature also finds that there is one example of this type of development in Suffolk County: Greenwood Village in Manorville, where approximately 525 homes are located.
C. 
This Legislature further finds that the unique nature of this kind of development, where the purchaser owns a home but is required to lease the land on which the home is situated, could potentially lead to abuses that harm the residents of a retirement community.
D. 
This Legislature also finds and determines that this type of development is not governed or regulated under the New York Real Property Law and, therefore, the residents of those retirement communities are not afforded the kinds of protection that are extended to mobile home owners or multiple dwelling tenants.
E. 
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to extend to occupants of homes in planned retirement communities protections similar to those provided to mobile home owners and multiple dwelling tenants.

§ 656-2 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
HOMEOWNER
One who holds title or the bill of sale to a home.
PLANNED RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
A contiguous parcel of privately owned real property on which 200 or more lots are leased to owners of year-round homes erected thereon and affixed thereto wherein the permanent occupation is restricted to tenants 55 years of age or older. This term shall not include mobile homes, manufactured homes, or condominiums as defined in the New York Real Property Law or real property owned by a corporation formed pursuant to the New York Cooperative Corporations Law.
TENANT
One who occupies a home in a planned retirement community.

§ 656-3 Leases.

A. 
Any planned retirement community owner or operator shall offer every homeowner or tenant the opportunity to sign a long-term lease with an option of the homeowner or tenant to cancel said lease for reasonable cause on 90 days' written notice to said owner or operator.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
B. 
A copy of the planned retirement community's rules and regulations, if any, shall be attached to and become a part of the lease provided for by this section, as if fully set forth therein, and said rules and regulations may not be changed, altered, amended or modified without the written consent of 3/4 of all homeowners or tenants then in residence with the consent of the planned retirement community owner or operator, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
C. 
No rules or regulations shall be inconsistent with the lease provisions in effect at the commencement of said lease.
D. 
A copy of the lease shall be delivered by the planned retirement community owner or operator to all homeowners or tenants at the time of the first deposit made payable to said planned retirement community owner or operator.

§ 656-4 Community rules and regulations.

A. 
The planned retirement community owner or operator may promulgate rules or regulations governing the rent and use or occupation of the home lot, provided that such rules or regulations shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.
B. 
A copy of all rules and regulations shall be delivered by the planned retirement community owner or operator to all homeowners or tenants at the time of the first deposit made payable to said planned retirement community owner or operator.
C. 
A copy of all rules and regulations shall be posted in a conspicuous public location upon the grounds of the planned retirement community.
D. 
If a rule or regulation is not applied uniformly to all homeowners or tenants, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that such rule or regulation is unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.
E. 
Any rule or regulation which does not conform to the requirements of this section or which has not been supplied or posted as required by this section shall not be enforceable.
F. 
No rule or regulation may be added, amended, repealed or changed by the planned retirement community owner or operator without the written consent of 3/4 of the then-residing homeowners or tenants.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]

§ 656-5 Fees and charges.

A. 
No planned retirement community homeowner or tenant shall be charged a fee, charge, or assessment, except for rent and utilities, unless agreed to by 3/4 of all of the homeowners.
B. 
All such charges for rent and utilities must be reasonably related to the value of the facility available or the services actually rendered.
C. 
A planned retirement community owner or operator must fully disclose all charges for rent and utilities to all homeowners or tenants at the time of the first deposit made payable to said community owner or operator.
D. 
Failure on the part of the planned retirement community owner or operator to fully disclose all charges for rent or utilities shall prevent the community owner or operator from collecting such charges.
E. 
No charges for rent or utilities may be increased except as set forth in the lease.

§ 656-6 Prohibitions.

No planned retirement community owner or operator shall:
A. 
Require a homeowner or tenant to purchase goods or services from said planned retirement community owner or operator, or from any vendor designated by said community owner or operator.
B. 
Restrict the installation, maintenance or repair of any property of the homeowner or tenant to specific vendors, including, but not limited to, employees, agents or other persons acting for or on behalf of the planned retirement community owner or operator.
C. 
Charge a fee or impose other charges on a homeowner or tenant who chooses to install any property, including appliances and/or fixtures.
D. 
Impose any charge for or restrict the ingress to or egress from the planned retirement community of any person employed, retained, or invited by the homeowner or tenant, whether to provide a commodity or service or otherwise.
E. 
Restrict the purchase and/or installation of any commodities, goods or services by the homeowner or tenant to specific vendors, including employees, agents or other persons acting for or on behalf of the planned retirement community owner or operator.
F. 
Restrict the making of any interior installation, furnishing or improvement to the planned retirement community home, so long as such installation, furnishing or improvement is in compliance with applicable building codes and other provisions of law.
G. 
Pass on the costs of fines, penalties or damages assessed against the planned retirement community owner or operator as a result of violation(s) of any provision of this chapter by increasing the rents, charges or fees of homeowners in the planned retirement community.
[Added 6-5-2012 by L.L. No. 41-2012]

§ 656-7 Sale of homes.

A. 
The homeowner has the right to sell his home in the planned retirement community without unreasonable, arbitrary restrictions being placed thereon by the planned retirement community owner or operator.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
B. 
The right to sell a planned retirement community home includes the incidental right to use any and all methods common to sales of residential property.
C. 
The planned retirement community homeowner's lease agreement is assignable to subsequent purchasers, without unreasonable or arbitrary conditions or restrictions by the planned retirement community owner or operator.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
D. 
The planned retirement community owner or operator shall not exact a commission or fee with respect to the price realized by the seller unless the community owner or operator has acted as agent for the homeowner in the sale pursuant to a written contract.

§ 656-8 Right of entry; emergency contact.

A. 
A planned retirement community owner or operator may enter a planned retirement community home only in case of emergency.
B. 
A planned retirement community owner or operator shall designate an agent on the premises who can be contacted on a twenty-four-hour basis to ensure the availability of emergency response in matters affecting the health, safety, well-being, and/or general welfare of planned retirement community tenants. The designated agent's name, address and telephone number shall be posted in a conspicuous public location in the planned retirement community, given in writing to each tenant, and registered with appropriate municipal law enforcement, health and fire officials.

§ 656-9 Retaliation for lawful activities or waiver of rights prohibited.

[Amended 5-13-2008 by L.L. No. 20-2008]
A. 
No planned retirement community owner or operator may threaten reprisal, overtly or covertly, against any of the homeowners or tenants as a result of their lawful pursuits and activities.
B. 
No planned retirement community owner or operator may request or demand that a homeowner or tenant waive his or her rights under this article. Any waiver by a homeowner or tenant of his or her rights under this article shall be deemed null and void as contrary to public policy.

§ 656-10 Furnishing services.

[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
A. 
No planned retirement community owner or operator who has agreed to provide hot or cold water, heat, light, power, or any other service or facility to an occupant of the planned retirement community shall intentionally or willfully fail to furnish such services or otherwise interfere with a quiet enjoyment of the leased premises.
B. 
Planned retirement community owners or operators must provide every homeowner or tenant, by December 1 of each year, the annual base residency charge for the coming year along with an itemized accounting of how those charges were calculated based on a stated overall cost for providing services and maintenance for the community in its entirety.

§ 656-11 Receipts for payment of rent.

Upon receipt of rent, fees, charges or other assessments, in the form of cash or any instrument other than the personal check of the tenant, it shall be the duty of the planned retirement community owner or operator to provide the payor with a written receipt containing the following:
A. 
The date;
B. 
The amount;
C. 
The identity of the premises and the period for which paid; and
D. 
The signature and title of the person receiving payment.

§ 656-12 Penalties for offenses; additional remedies.

A. 
Any planned retirement community owner or operator who unlawfully violates a provision of this article shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $500 for each day a violation exists.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
B. 
Any planned retirement community homeowner or tenant injured or damaged in whole or in part as a result of a violation of any of the provisions of this article may bring an action for recovery of damages, plus reasonable attorney's fees. The remedy shall be in addition to and shall not preclude or diminish any action that an individual may have under common law or any local, state or federal law or regulation.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by L.L. No. 15-2009]
C. 
The Suffolk County Attorney may commence an action to restrain, prevent, and/or enjoin a violation of this article or a continuance of such violation of this article or a continuance of such violation by a planned retirement community owner or operator.

§ 656-13 Applicability.

This article shall apply to sales, actions, or leases involving planned retirement community homes occurring or entered into after the effective date of this article.
[Adopted 12-15-2009 by L.L. No. 45-2009 (Ch. 383, Art. II, of the 1985 Code)]

§ 656-14 Legislative intent.

A. 
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that developers in different parts of the country are selling homes in "retirement communities," in which the purchaser buys and owns the home while the developer retains ownership of the land on which the home is installed (as well as the roads, sidewalks and common areas in the communities). The homeowners in those communities lease the property on which their home is installed.
B. 
This Legislature further finds and recognizes the unique nature of this kind of development, where the purchaser owns a home but is required to lease the land on which the home is situated.
C. 
This Legislature also finds and determines that this type of development is not governed or regulated under New York Real Property Law and, therefore, the residents of those retirement communities are not afforded the kinds of protection that are extended to mobile home owners or multiple dwelling tenants.
D. 
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that the current provisions extending the right of first refusal to mobile home owners or tenants when an owner of a mobile home park offers such park for sale have proven successful in protecting the interests of mobile home owners or tenants.
E. 
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to extend the right of first refusal to occupants of homes in planned retirement communities as is provided to mobile home owners and multiple dwelling tenants.

§ 656-15 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
HOMEOWNER
One who holds title or the bill of sale to a home.
PLANNED RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
A contiguous parcel of privately owned real property on which 200 or more lots are leased to owners of year-round homes erected thereon and affixed thereto wherein the permanent occupation is restricted to tenants 55 years of age or older. This term shall not include mobile homes, manufactured homes, or condominiums as defined in the New York Real Property Law or real property owned by a corporation formed pursuant to the New York Cooperative Corporations Law.
TENANT
One who occupies a home in a planned retirement community.

§ 656-16 Notice of sale; homeowner rights; exceptions.

A. 
If the owner of a planned retirement community offers a planned retirement community for sale or receives a bona fide offer to purchase that he intends to consider or to respond to with a counteroffer, he shall deliver written notice of the offer to all homeowners residing within the planned retirement community within 30 days, stating the price, terms and conditions of sale. Delivery of such written notice shall be in person or by certified mail.
B. 
The homeowners, by and through a homeowners' association, shall have a first option to purchase the planned retirement community, provided that they meet the price, terms and conditions of the planned retirement community owner within 90 days after the date of delivery of the notice, unless otherwise agreed. If a contract between the owner of a planned retirement community and the homeowners' association is not executed within such ninety-day period, then, unless the owner of the planned retirement community thereafter elects to offer or accept an offer to purchase the planned retirement community at a price lower than the prices specified in the notice to the homeowners, he has no further obligations under this section.
C. 
If the owner of the planned retirement community thereafter elects to offer or to accept an offer to purchase the planned retirement community at a price lower than the price specified in the notice to the homeowners, the homeowners, by and through a homeowners' association, shall have an additional 30 days to meet the price, terms and conditions of the owner of the planned retirement community by executing a contract.
D. 
This section shall not apply to:
(1) 
Any transfer by gift, devise or operation of law.
(2) 
Any transfer by a corporation to an affiliate.
(3) 
Any conveyance of an interest in a planned retirement community incidental to the financing of the planned retirement community.
(4) 
Any conveyance resulting from the foreclosure of a mortgage, deed of trust or other instrument encumbering a planned retirement community or any deed given in lieu of such foreclosure.
(5) 
Any sale or transfer between or among joint tenants or tenants in common owning a planned retirement community.
(6) 
The acquisition of a planned retirement community by a government entity under its power of eminent domain.
(7) 
A planned retirement community that is specifically limited to the utilization as a planned retirement community through a pertinent town zoning ordinance.
E. 
In the event that the owner of a planned retirement community loses title to the County of Suffolk to the underlying real property for nonpayment of taxes, then the right of first refusal set forth above may be exercised by any homeowner residing within the planned retirement community, by and through a homeowners' association, in accordance with the provisions of this section as if a bona fide offer to purchase had been made to a planned retirement community owner, anything in any other County law, ordinance, resolution, provision of this article or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding, such as but not limited to Chapter 29, Conveyance of Property, Article I of the Suffolk County Code and § A42-3 of the Suffolk County Administrative Code. For the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this subsection, the County of Suffolk, through the County Division of Real Estate, shall be charged with the duties, functions, rights, responsibilities and obligations of a planned retirement community owner.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. IV).

§ 656-17 Right to organize and assemble.

No person shall deny or abridge the right of a homeowner or tenant to organize a homeowners' or tenants' association or to assemble within a planned retirement community.

§ 656-18 Community rules and regulations.

A. 
All rules and regulations governing a planned retirement community shall be part of any contract of sale offered by the owner(s) of any planned retirement community.
B. 
The owner of a planned retirement community located within the County of Suffolk shall file with the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs a copy of all rules and regulations governing the planned retirement community, and any amendments to such rules and regulations, within 30 days of publication.
C. 
Rules and regulations already in existence on the effective date of this section shall be filed with the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs within 60 days after this section takes effect.
D. 
Failure to file such rules and regulations with the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs shall render such rules and regulations null, void, unenforceable and without any force or effect.

§ 656-19 Grounds for eviction.

A. 
An owner of a planned retirement community may not evict a homeowner or tenant other than for the following reasons:
(1) 
The planned retirement community homeowner or tenant has defaulted in the payment of rent and a proper demand has been made for such delinquent rent. On tender of payment of such delinquent rent, together with allowable costs, any action instituted for nonpayment of rent shall be terminated.
(2) 
The home or rented space is used for any illegal trade or business.
(3) 
The homeowner or tenant is in violation of a federal, state or local law or ordinance which may be deemed detrimental to the safety and welfare of the other persons residing in the planned retirement community.
(4) 
The homeowner or tenant or anyone occupying the home is in violation of any lease, term or lawful rule or regulation established by the owner of a planned retirement community and has continued in violation, without attempt to cure, for more than 10 days after the owner of the planned retirement community has given written notice of such violation to the homeowner or tenant directing that the homeowner or tenant correct the violation within 10 days of the receipt of said notice.
B. 
No homeowner or tenant shall be denied a continuance or renewal of a lease so long as he or she has, during his or her period of occupancy, complied with the terms of his or her lease and the lawful rules and regulations of the planned retirement community then in effect.
C. 
Any planned retirement community owner or operator who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for each violation. Each day or a part of a day on which a violation continues or occurs shall constitute a separate violation.
D. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
This section shall be enforced by the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs, the Suffolk County Attorney or by any other governmental agency or department authorized to secure compliance with the law by an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction to prevent the violation or threatened violation thereof.
(2) 
A civil action in the name of the governmental agency may be commenced to recover a civil penalty in the amounts prescribed by this section.
(3) 
A violation or failure to comply with any provision of this section may be raised as a complete defense, or as counterclaim, by a homeowner and/or tenant in any action brought by an owner of a planned retirement community in a court proceeding in Suffolk County.

§ 656-20 Penalties for offenses; additional remedies. [1]

Except as set forth in § 656-19C for violations of that section, the following penalties shall apply to violations of this article:
A. 
Any planned retirement community owner or operator who unlawfully violates a provision of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment not to exceed six months.
B. 
Any planned retirement community homeowner or tenant injured or damaged in whole or in part as a result of a violation of any of the provisions of this article may bring an action for recovery of damages in an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys fees. The remedy shall be in addition to and shall not preclude or diminish any action that an individual may have under common law or any local, state or federal law or regulation.
C. 
The Suffolk County Attorney may commence an action to restrain, prevent, and/or enjoin a violation of this article or a continuance of such violation of this article or a continuance of such violation by a planned retirement community owner or operator.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. IV).

§ 656-21 Applicability.

This article shall apply to sales, actions, or leases involving planned retirement community homes occurring or entered into after the effective date of this article.

§ 656-22 When effective.

This article shall take effect on the 90th day immediately subsequent to filing in the Office of the Secretary of State.