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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Residential Building Owners

Frequently Asked Questions
For Residential Owners

          > What programs does HPD offer to help me repair my house or apartment building?
          > How often must owners register their buildings with HPD? 
          > How do I correct violations and clear my record? 
          > How do I pay Emergency Repair Program (ERP) charges? 
          > How do I obtain a copy of the housing maintenance code?
          > Why are old violations on the site?
          > I see drugs being sold in my building. What can I do?
          > I am an apartment building owner with difficult tenants. What can I do?
          > How do I buy an HPD-owned building?
          > What do I need to know about the City's Carbon Monoxide Law? 
          > How can I tell if I own a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) building and what regulations apply?
          > How can I avoid taking a bad loan?
          > What are the danger signs of a predatory loan?
          > How can I avoid deed scams?
          > How can I avoid home repair contractor scams?
          > Can I refinance a mortgage for a home purchased throughthe Partnership New Homes Homeownership Program or the Nehemiah Program?
          > What is an I-card and how can I request it?
          > What must building owners provide to the Red Cross in the event of a building-wide emergency such as a fire or vacate order?
          > How do I contact HPD for more information?
          > How can I give feedback about the HPD website? 

What programs does HPD offer to help me repair my house or apartment building?
To qualified homeowners, HPD offers low interest rehabilitation loans in neighborhoods throughout the city. The agency also works with Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) to offer various loans below market rate. For more information about these loan programs, call (212) 863-5300, or see our section on loan programs for building owners.

Owners of apartment buildings requiring systems repairs such as new plumbing or electrical systems may find assistance through HPD loan programs such as the Article 8A Loan Program. Owners of apartment buildings requiring more extensive rehabilitation may seek financial help from the Participation Loan Program (PLP). Homeowners should consider the Small Buildings Loan Program.

HPD's Tax Incentives Programs provide temporary tax relief for owners who build new housing or renovate their property.

Once a month, HPD staff travel to a different borough to host Owners' Night: An Evening Dedicated to Helping New York City's Property Owners. Learn about the availability of low-interest loans, free educational courses and free owner counseling.

If you would like to receive e-mails from HPD with information for residential building owners, including details about upcoming Owners' Nights, visit the NYC HPD E-mail Update Subscription Center.

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 How do I obtain a copy of the housing maintenance code?
To purchase your copy of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Laws contact The City Store (call 311 for information). To see the New York City Housing Maintenance Code online click here.

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Why are old violations on the site?
You may see violations dating back as far as 1960 on the site. It is very likely that the conditions may no longer exist, but they will remain on the official record until there has been either a reinspection by HPD or a certification by the building owner that the conditions have been corrected. For example, because it is a fire hazard, it is a violation to keep a bicycle in the public hallway; it is unlikely that the bicycle is still there years later, but the violation will appear until either the building owner or the tenant takes positive action to remove it. Please see the question above on correcting violations. If owners see violations on record that they know have been corrected, they can contact their Borough Code Enforcement office to find out how they can be removed.

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I see drugs being sold in my building. What can I do?
Tenants in HPD-owned buildings are encouraged to immediately report all drug activity to 911 and their Property Manager. Additionally, tenants should report to their Property Manager broken locks or intercoms to secure their building from drug dealers and vandals.

Tenants in privately-owned buildings should notify their building owners and the police of illegal activity in their building. Owners have an obligation to alert the police to any illegal activity in their building.

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I am an apartment building owner with difficult tenants. What can I do?
The only legal way a building owner may evict a nonpaying tenant who refuses to move voluntarily is through a nonpayment eviction proceeding in Housing Court. Owners must obtain a judgment of possession and "warrant" directing the sheriff or marshal to evict the tenant.

Many leases contain "nuisance" provisions that, under certain circumstances, allow building owners to undertake eviction proceedings for objectionable conduct. A "nuisance" is generally considered conduct that threatens the health, safety or comfort of neighboring tenants. To justify eviction, building owners need to present evidence in Housing Court demonstrating that a tenant's nuisance behavior was persistent and egregious. For further information on Housing Court, call the Citywide Task Force on Housing Court at (212) 982-5512, open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Owners contemplating legal proceedings may wish to consult with an attorney experienced in housing matters.

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How do I buy an HPD-owned Building?
Many people have expressed interest in buying a dilapidated building and fixing it up themselves. HPD does not sell buildings in dilapidated condition to the general public. Occasionally, HPD sells buildings at market value without City subsidy through the Asset Sales program when they are in better physical shape. Current tenants in good standing are given the first opportunity to purchase their building. If the tenants are not interested or not able to purchase, the building is offered to the general public through a Request for Offers Process. Those interested may call (212) 863-7630.

HPD also works with community members and non-profits to convey clusters of buildings to local ownership for rehabilitation and management through the Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program, Neighborhood Redevelopment Program, Tenant Interim Lease Program, and the Tenant Ownership Program.

Information on plans for specific HPD-owned buildings may be obtained by calling 212-863-8961.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services' (DCAS) Division of Real Estate also holds auctions of vacant land and commercial buildings. For more information, call 311 (311 can be accessed outside of New York City by dialing (212) NEW YORK).

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How can I tell if I own a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) building and what regulations apply?
Generally, SRO units consist of one or two rooms that either lack complete kitchen and/or bathroom facilities or share them with other units. SRO units are often furnished, and rent is usually paid weekly or monthly.

SRO buildings are subject to some regulations to which other residential buildings are not. For example, SRO buildings must provide one toilet, one washbasin and one bath or shower for every six SRO units. In addition, every floor where tenants reside must have bathroom facilities. Each room has a maximum occupancy of two adults, no residents may be younger than 16 years old, and each sleeping room must have at least one window that faces outside. Building managers of SROs are required to reside in the building. The NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) regulates rents for most SRO buildings. For more information on regulations governing SROs, call HPD's SRO Compliance Unit at (212) 863-8515.

SRO building owners who wish to alter the number of rooms, transform rooms into apartments or alter the number of kitchen and bathroom facilities must first receive a Certificate of No Harassment from HPD. For more information, view the regulations regarding Certificates of No Harassment or call HPD's Housing Litigation Division at (212) 863-8266.

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How can I avoid taking a bad loan?
You want to get the best possible loan; but there are lenders out there who want sell you a dishonest or predatory loan. Predatory loans harm borrowers by making it difficult or impossible to keep up with payments. Borrowers may pay unnecessary fees and excessive interest charges. Predatory lenders prey on people who are unfamiliar with the banking system. They target seniors, minorities, or anyone whose credit makes it hard to get a regular bank loan. Predatory loans take advantage of borrowers with a variety of abusive practices and:

  • Target people of color, elderly and disabled people for high-cost loans;
  • Charge excessive interest rates and higher fees;
  • Keep secret the true costs and terms of the loan;
  • Approve a loan without considering a person's ability to repay;
  • Convince borrowers to refinance frequently (or "flip") the loan;
  • Carry terms that make it difficult for the borrower to refinance later.

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What are the danger signs of a predatory loan?

  • High bank fees (call competitors and comparison shop)
  • Balloon payment (a lump sum due at the end of the term of the loan);
  • A loan is based on your home equity rather than your income;
  • Credit life insurance added to the loan.

Don't gamble with your biggest asset. Call 311 and get good advice.

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How can I avoid deed scams?
Homeowners facing foreclosure do have options, and must be careful to avoid foreclosure scams. So-called "bailout specialists" tell you that, for a fee, you can deed your home to the bailout specialist and then rent it back. The bailout specialist takes the money, does not arrange for the short sale, and does not make any payments on the mortgage. The end result is that your home loan payments are not made and the mortgage goes into foreclosure, without you being aware of any fraud. Before you sign anything, call 311 and learn the facts and your options.

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How can I avoid home repair contractor scams?
Many homeowners - especially seniors- are targeted by scam artists who use high pressure tactics to sell unneeded and overpriced contracts for "home improvements." Often these scam artists charge more than their quoted prices or their work does not live up to their promises. When the homeowner refuses to pay for shoddy or incomplete work, the contractor or an affiliated lender threatens foreclosure on the home. Home improvement contractors use several methods of targeting owners: high pressure phone calls, flyers, advertisements, and door-to-door sales. Unscrupulous contractors often employ one or more of the following sales tactics:

  • "bait and switch" - offering low prices for installed items like windows and home siding, and then telling the owner the item is out of stock and can only be replaced with a high-priced substitute;
  • misrepresenting the urgency of a needed repair
  • claiming the item is more expensive than advertised because it has to be "custom made" to fit the senior's home;
  • misrepresenting that the consumer is receiving a discount because the home is selected to model the repair when, in reality, the consumer is paying market price or more;
  • misrepresenting the energy savings, health benefits, and value added to the home;
  • misrepresenting the terms on which financing is likely to be arranged.

Unscrupulous contractors often use deceptive tactics to hide the true cost of paying for the work. These tactics may include:

  • using more than one contract for a single repair in an attempt to confuse the home owner;
  • claiming that there is a "cash" contract that doesn't contain financing terms although the deal is intended to be financed;
  • adding extra hidden charges above the negotiated price;
  • providing expensive (high rate) financing or arranging with a third party to finance the work;
  • obtaining hidden kickbacks from lenders or loan brokers for referrals.

Once the contractor has the downpayment in hand, or if you give the contractor full payment up-front, they may disappear. To guard against this, call the Better Business Bureau beforehand to see if they have registered any complaints on the contractor, and check with Consumer Affairs about whether the contractor is licensed. Also, pay in installments, when the work is completed to your satisfaction.

Don't be scammed. If you are unsure about the deal offered by a home repair contractor, call 311.

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What is an I-card and how can I request it?
Before 1938, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) used "I" cards ("I" stands for initial inspection) to record the occupancy and arrangement of the buildings HPD inspected. Certificates of Occupancy were not required until 1938. Today, absent a Certificate of Occupancy, the Department uses I-cards to determine the legal use and occupancy of a building.

If a constituent requests a copy of an I-card, HPD needs at least three business days to retrieve and copy the card. Cards can only be accessed in the borough where the building is located. Requests can be made by writing to HPD or by calling the borough office.

NOTE: There might not be an I card for every building.

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Can I refinance a mortgage for a home purchased through the Partnership New Homes Homeownership Program or the Nehemiah Program?
Yes. HPD will refinance and subordinate to a new first mortgage if:

  1. A homeowner sells or refinances his/her home up to the subsidized purchase price of the home and
  2. HPD remains in second position behind your first mortgage.

Click here for information about the Mortgage Services Request Procedure.

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What must building owners provide to the Red Cross in the event of a building-wide emergency such as a fire or vacate order?
Owners of residential buildings must provide the names and apartment numbers of all legal tenants in occupancy to emergency staff in the event of a building-wide emergency, such as a fire or vacate order issued by the Department of Buildings, Fire Department or HPD Code Enforcement. HPD's Emergency Housing Services Bureau assists displaced tenants with temporary housing at one of four family centers or at Red Cross-contracted hotels and facilities.

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