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Department of Consumer Affairs
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Legal Interpretations

DCA's Legal Division issues legal interpretations to help businesses comply with New York City laws and rules enforced by the Department. Each interpretation addresses specific facts and circumstances. Different facts and situations could result in different interpretations. The table below includes written legal interpretations issued in response to specific inquiries but may provide some guidance for other businesses, attorneys, and the public. DCA is committed to providing businesses with clear and easily accessible information but cannot serve as an attorney for businesses.

Note:

  • Links feature the subject of interpretations.
  • The most recent interpretations appear first in lists. In some instances, the laws or rules may have changed from the time the legal interpretation was issued. You are responsible for knowing and complying with the most current laws, including any City Council amendments.
  • The letters have been redacted to delete confidential information.
  • If an existing interpretation does not address your question about how a law or rule applies to your specific situation, please submit a request for a legal interpretation by e-mail at:
    PaidSickLeave@dca.nyc.gov (for Paid Sick Leave Law legal interpretations) or
    LegalInterp@dca.nyc.gov (for all other interpretations)
    OR by mail to:
              Department of Consumer Affairs
              Attention: Legal Division
              42 Broadway, 9th Floor
              New York, NY 10004
    DCA will not address questions or issues arising in lawsuits or as a result of an enforcement action unless directed to do so by a court. Use the contact information above to request a legal interpretation only.

Additional Resources:
Review Business License FAQs for general licensing information or visit Business Toolbox to access DCA's online services.
Access the Laws of the City of New York 
For all other inquiries, visit Contact DCA for appropriate contact information.

Quick Links to Legal Interpretations for:

Consumer Protection Law
Issue Interpretation 

Unfair Trade Practices Prohibited

Interpretation of Rules of the City of New York Title 6 § 5-59 on Restaurant Surcharges  
Regulations on length of time to use tickets 

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DCA Licensing Law
Industry Interpretation 

Amusement Arcade

Billiard tables are not counted for Arcade Law purposes 

Amusement Device

Mechanical bull is an amusement device that requires a license 

Auction House/Auctioneer 

Auction house and collateral loan broker licenses 
Silent auctions
Conducting auctions at various premises in NYC
Online auctions of vacation packages
Requirements for conducting an auction of residential real estate in NYC
A licensed auctioneer must perform an auction
Not-for-profits and auctioneer license requirements 

Cabaret  

Cabaret license requirements and business performances
Cabaret license required 

Cigarette Retail Dealer 

License requirements for selling nicotine delivery system in the street 

Debt Collection

Debt buyer licensing requirements
Debt collection agency telephone call record requirements 
Debt collection agency dunning letters*
Clarification re debt collection agencies and phone calls*
Clarification of the term originating creditor*
Extra fees on student loans
Clarification on licensing of debt collection agencies*
Questions re debt collection license requirements for law firms*
Clarification on scope of permitted and prohibited debt collection agency communications*
Licensing requirements for debt buyers*
Question re commercial exemption for debt collection agencies*
Compliance with regulations re validation letters
Question re debt collection agency licensing*
Filing of bankruptcy claims and debt collection license requirements
Clarification re names in permitted debt collection agency communication*
Requirements re license numbers in debt collection agency communication
Questions re licensing requirements for collection of commercial debt*
Attorney concerns regarding final rules implementing Local Law 15 of 2009*
Industry concerns regarding final rules implementing Local Law 15 of 2009*
Question re attorneys and exemption from debt collection agency regulations*
Original creditors and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Questions re requirement of debt collection agency license*
Clarification re time periods
Exemption of HESC from licensing requirements
Language required in dunning letters 

*These legal interpretations were responses to inquiries regarding Local Law 15 of 2009, which amended the Administrative Code of the City of New York to strengthen protections for consumers when contacted by debt collectors and expanded DCA’s licensing authority to include debt buyers. DCA also adopted new rules on debt collection practices that went into effect in April 2010. 

Electronic and Home Appliance Service Dealer

Electronic and home appliance service dealer license requirements 

Employment Agency

Employment agencies operating on shared premises
Employer paid nanny referral agency 
Employment agency for rehabilitation professionals
Nanny and babysitter referral agency 
Temporary babysitting services as employment agency
Third party requirements for talent agencies do not invalidate DCA license
Talent agency contract
Non-profit organization operating as an employment agency
Talent/Booking agent employment licensing
Theatrical personal manager required to obtain an employment agency license
Clarification on license requirements for modeling agency
License requirement for bartending schools
Theatrical employment agency and personal management 
Talent/Employment agency licensing
Nurses' registry and Employment Agency Law 

General Vendor

General Vending from a Vehicle Parked on the Street is Impermissible
Proper Measurement of the 20-Foot Clearance Requirement Between General Vendor Stands and Entranceways 
Licensing requirement for storage of cell phones 
Vending on private property/selling flowers on a sidewalk
Clarification on vendor's helper
Vending from a parked vehicle is prohibited
General vending and licensing of hand trucks 
Operating a shoe shine stand or booth in a public space 

Home Improvement Contractor

Home improvement questions re licensed architects and contracts
Warranty or guarantee language in a home improvement contract
Clarification of definition of home improvement work
Department of Buildings' electrician license and home improvement work
License requirement for erecting real estate signs
Coordinating installation does not require a home improvement license
Questions re home improvement work in high rise buildings and single family dwellings
Home improvement work paid for by a management company
A license is not required to mow a lawn
Planting, removing, pruning trees and license requirements
Cabinet maker and home improvement license requirements 

Home Improvement Salesperson

A license is required to solicit home improvement work 

Horse Drawn Cab

Hybrid Horse Drawn Carriage (HDC) / Motorized HDC 
Horse drawn cabs – weekend restrictions 

Laundry / Laundry Jobber

Laundry License Required For Locations Where Items Are Stored or Held
Laundry jobber license required for laundry service that does not deal with the public 

Locksmith

A locksmith license is required to change locks in an office building 

Parking Garage and/or Lot

A parking garage operator need not be the owner or tenant of the property to obtain a DCA license
Bike parking in garages and disclaimers of liability
Parking lot license exemption 2
Parking lot license is required for use by outside vendors/parties 
Parking lot license exemption 1
Parking garage license exemption 2
Parking garage license exemption 1 
Parking garage sign
Patron parking exemption 

Pawnbroker

Third party interest in a pawnbroker's inventory   
Legality of accepting pawns through mail and advertising pawnshop online
Legality of life insurance policy as subject of pawn
Pawnbroker disclosures 

Pedicab Business

A quadricycle may not be licensed as a pedicab 
Definition of pedicab accidents and reporting requirements 
Pedicab insurance is required for the full license term 

Process Server (Agency and Individual)

Use of abbreviations, codes, and pre-formatted stamps in logbooks
Requirement to enter all information in process server recordkeeping 
Service of subpoena for electronic records of service (GPS records)
Licensed attorney operating a process server agency
Process server logbooks: recording certified mailings and scanning records
Traverse hearing reporting requirements for process serving agency and process server individual
Clarification on process server license requirement
Process server license requirement
License requirement for process server organization outside of NYC
LLC requiring a process server organization license 

Scrap Metal Processor

Scrap metal processor license required
Clarification re scrap metal processor license requirement
Corporate change in scrap metal processor 

Secondhand Dealer Auto

License required for storage and display of secondhand vehicles
Threshold for secondhand auto dealer license requirement 

Secondhand Dealer General

Trade-in program
EBT cards as acceptable evidence of identity 
Website Solicitations for Purchase and Sale of Second-hand Articles 
Licensed secondhand dealer at alternate locations 
Clarification on license requirements for secondhand dealing
Sale of remanufactured ink or toner cartridges does not require a secondhand dealer license 

Sidewalk Café

Awnings and sidewalk cafés 
Sidewalk café premises to be used for sale of coniferous trees
Termination of a land owner's consent to operate a sidewalk café 
Clarification re sidewalk café regulations 

Special Sale

Going out of business sale and compliance with NY State General Business Law 

Stoop Line Stand

Stoop line stand size and design questions
Stoop line stand smaller than four feet wide 
Question re stoop line stand licenses 

Storage Warehouse

Licensing requirement for storage of cell phones
Clarification of storage warehouse license requirements
Storage warehouse license requirements for art galleries storing art 

Temporary Street Fair Vendor Permit

License required for operating a game of skill at a street fair 

Tow Truck

Question re lettering on tow trucks
Clarification re vehicles towed pursuant to DARP program
Towing repossessed vehicles requires a license
Car carriers and tow truck license requirements
Drop fees and removal of vehicles from parking lots
Authorization for towing in private lots
DCA license number may be required to be posted outside of towing facility   

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Paid Sick Leave Law

Interpretations

Clarification regarding "call in for their work assignments at will" and speech language pathologist exemption
Clarification regarding when state-licensed therapists are exempt from the Law and whether the exemption applies to therapists who are paid per patient, not by the hour
Questions about employees' accural and use of sick leave

Additional Resources

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Other Laws Enforced by DCA
Issue  Interpretation 
Funeral Service Providers Funeral service provider requirements 
Clarification of requirements for funeral service providers 

Motorized Scooters

Sales in New York City 
Tenant Screening Report Disclosure Questions concerning tenant screening report disclosures 

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