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Unsafe Buildings Guide

What is an Unsafe Building?

An unsafe building is a structure, or part of a structure, or a premises that is a danger to public safety because it is:

  • Open
  • Vacant
  • Unguarded and / or
  • Structurally compromised

The Department of Buildings ("Department" or "Buildings") initiates proceedings in state court against unsafe buildings throughout the five boroughs. The Unsafe Buildings Unit (UB Unit) prosecutes these cases under the provisions of the Administrative Code of the City of New York (AC) set forth in AC Sections 26-235 through 26-242.

Steps typically include the following:

  1. The Department serves the parties interested in the property with a Notice of Survey and Summons, stating that the owner, or his/her agent, must take action to cure the unsafe building condition.
  2. A survey, or inspection, of the property is conducted before the court date.
  3. If, based on the results of the survey, the judge determines that the building is unsafe and interested parties are not working to correct the unsafe condition, the judge issues a Precept, or order, authorizing the City to do work to remove the unsafe building condition and to charge the costs of that work to the property.

Other Related Link:

Unsafe Buildings Information Sheet
Surveyor Information Sheet
Survey Fee/ Cancellation Form
FAQ on Survey, Survey Fee and Lis Pendens
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