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Unsafe Building

Unsafe Buildings Information Sheet

After a Court hearing, your building has been found unsafe. The Court has issued a Precept (special order) authorizing the City of New York to make the building safe by demolishing it, sealing it, or performing other work.

IF THE CITY DEMOLISHES OR SEALS YOUR BUILDING OR PERFORMS OTHER WORK PURSUANT TO THE PRECEPT, THE COST OF THAT WORK WILL BECOME A LIEN UPON YOUR PROPERTY.

You may have the opportunity to carry out the Precept at your own expense pursuant to a Department of Buildings permit. The sealing, repair, demolition or other work must be done in accordance with the Department of Buildings laws, rules and procedures. For repair, demolition, or other work to cure the unsafe condition, a Department of Buildings permit must be obtained. The Precept does not authorize anyone to ignore the Building Code or any of the Department of Buildings rules and procedures. You may consult with the Construction Division in the Borough Office in the borough in which the building is located to determine what you need to do.

If you seal, repair, demolish or perform other work to cure the unsafe condition at your building rather than having the City take action, you must also do the following:

  1. A Hold Letter must be requested from the Department of Buildings Borough Commissioner of the borough in which the building is located in order to have the City hold off on taking action to seal, demolish, or perform other work on your building while you take the necessary steps yourself. If such a letter is not obtained, Buildings may ask the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development ("HPD") to take steps to hire a contractor to do the work.

  2. You must pay the $100 survey (inspection) fee to the City of New York. This fee covers the cost of the independent architect or engineer who accompanied the Department of Buildings inspector on the survey (the inspection) pursuant to the Notice of Survey and Summons. (That fee is not a fine or penalty.) For information regarding payment of the fee, please contact the Unsafe Buildings Unit Cashier.

  3. Once you have completed the work, you must contact the Construction Division of the borough in which your building is located (listed below) to schedule a reinspection. You must present the receipt for the $100 survey fee in order to schedule the reinspection. If the inspector finds that the work has been done properly and the violation has been cured, you can ask the Borough Office to certify the dismissal of the violation on the BIS computer print-out for the building.

  4. Once your violation has been dismissed, contact the Unsafe Buildings staff and ask for a "Consent to Cancel Lis Pendens." When you file the original "Consent to Cancel Lis Pendens" at the County Clerk's office in the borough in which the property is located, the Lis Pendens filed there for this proceeding will be canceled.

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