The city moved quickly to revise the building code after superstorm Sandy, but landlords of most buildings in the flood plain have not been required to meet these flood-prevention standards.

Problem. Many landlord-owned properties in high risk flood areas have not been brought into compliance with new codes. (Credit: Getty Images/Allison Joyce)

After Sandy struck, the city passed a handful of building code changes in 2013 meant to protect people during floods, including raising structures above the anticipated flood altitude — or flood-proofing buildings below this point — and ensuring that residents on higher floors can access drinkable water if electric water pumps fail.

Since then, 1,131 new buildings have been constructed in the flood plain that abide by the new code.

The city generally cannot compel landlords of older buildings to adopt these new standards unless they undertake substantial alteration work. So far, 549 structures have hit the substantial alteration threshold – where renovation work amounts to at least 50 percent of the building value – and, consequently, must ensure the construction brings the structure in line with the current code.