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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eric Bederman (HPD) 212-863-5176
Nicholas Sbordone (DoITT) (212) 788-6602


DEPUTY MAYOR STEEL, COUNCIL SPEAKER QUINN, HPD COMMISSIONER WAMBUA, AND TECHNOLOGY COMMISSIONER POST LAUNCH NEW ONLINE SERVICE TO STREAMLINE PROCESS FOR CERTIFYING CORRECTED HOUSING CODE VIOLATIONS

E-Certification Eliminates Time Consuming Paperwork, Allows Certification of Multiple Violations With The Click Of A Mouse

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, and NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Carole Post announced the launch of HPD’s E-Certification system. This new system allows landlords of residential buildings to use an online account to affirm that a housing code violation issued by HPD has been corrected within the legally required timeframe. E-Certification will streamline the procedure that requires a property owner or manager to complete notarized paperwork required to file a Certification of Correction for each Notice of Violation that they want to register as having been corrected. 

“Streamlining government and using technology to enhance services for New Yorkers is a longstanding mission of this Administration,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “The E-Certification system offers a quick, easy and efficient way for property owners to certify that they’ve corrected housing code violations properly and on time. This innovative new system will play an important role in the City’s efforts to cut red tape for owners while improving living conditions for tenants while protecting and preserving our housing stock.” 

Local Law 29, introduced and passed by the City Council in 2007, required HPD to accept electronic certifications of correction of violations of the Housing Maintenance Code. The new process allows owners to enroll in the Electronic Certification program by submitting only one notarized hard copy enrollment form as long as their building remains validly registered.  

“E-certification is a great example of how streamlining an outdated process will have many benefits,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Not only will it make the lives of both tenants and property owners easier, but this system also helps the City better target buildings with outstanding violations. I want to thank Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua for for continuing to make the City technologically accessible, and especially Council Member Letitia James, the original sponsor of Local Law 29, and Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Erik Martin-Dilan for making this a reality.” 

“Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain their property, and certifying the correction of housing code violations in a timely manner is not only the law, it is a critical part of upholding their end of the landlord-tenant relationship,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “E-Certification streamlines the process by allowing landlords to certify the correction of multiple violations online—bypassing time consuming paperwork and reducing errors - with the click of a mouse. This is a smart investment by the City that will increase efficiencies for both HPD and landlords and enable both to better serve New York’s tenants.”

“Across government, technology is at its best when it helps to improve services to customers while enhancing City efficiency,” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post.  “E-Certification is a prime example of that—and a true win-win for New Yorkers.” 

Calls to the City’s 311 line to register a complaint about a maintenance problem can result in an HPD inspector visiting the tenant’s apartment and if necessary, issuing a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the property owner or manager directing them to correct the problem. Depending on the classification of the violation a specific timeframe is given in which the violation must be fixed. An owner is required to then provide a Certification of Correction to HPD affirming that the violation was corrected properly within that timeframe. Filing the paper version of a Certification of Correction requires a hardcopy to be filled out, notarized and hand delivered or sent registered mail to the appropriate HPD borough office. If more than one NOV is issued, the process must be repeated for each violation. 

“Landlords will unquestionably be motivated to complete upgrades to property because of reduced red tape through the use of the new E-Certification system,” said Council Member Letitia James, the original sponsor of the bill.  “The entire process has been made easier, and should be more cost effective in the long run. Launching of the online account gives owners of residential buildings options—specifically the ability to go to HPD’s webpage to file a Certificate of Correction, also encouraging repairs to be filed within the legal timeframe required.  This new technology makes sense, and is certain to eliminate excuses, delays and mistakes for HPD, property owners and tenants; it’s a win-win.” 

“The launching of HPD’s new E-Certification system is another perfect example of how the City can use modern technological advances to make a sometimes long and cumbersome process more efficient for everyone,” stated Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, the Chair of the Council's Housing & Buildings Committee. “This streamlined process will save property owners time and resources, and makes it easier for them to certify that their housing violations have been corrected.” 

“Any system that results in better conditions for our tenants and streamlines accountability is a good one,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Chair of the Technology Committee. “This is a great example of technology and government working together to deliver improved services to New York City residents.” 

E-Certification brings the violation correction and certification process online to HPD’s webpage in one easy-to-access location, and allows a property owner to electronically certify multiple violations of different classes, on different NOVs, with different due dates all in the same session —eliminating duplicative paperwork and the need for separate notarizations for each.  E-Certification also eliminates mistakes such as failing to properly complete the form, which can cause delays in processing. In addition, it provides an immediate electronic receipt to the user.  As with the current certification process, tenants will still receive notification of all certified violations and have an opportunity to challenge the certification by requesting a follow-up inspection from HPD. Click here to view HPD’s E-Certification page  

All violations will be eligible for E-Certification except mold and vermin violations in buildings in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program, and lead-based paint violations in any building. Certification of these violations requires supporting documentation such as dust clearance test records and affidavits that the online system does not accommodate. Additionally, only open violations within the certification period will be displayed and be eligible for E-Certification. 

The E-Certification solution was implemented with support from DoITT, which built backend systems allowing HPD to authenticate landlord identity; to assign digital “postmarks” to submitted certification documentation to ensure chain of custody; and to store, organize and retrieve the electronic documentation as necessary. 

In order to take advantage of the E-Certification system a person must be the valid property owner or the owner’s officer or managing agent, the building must have an up to date registration, and the person must be an HPD Online user with a valid login and password. Only one user may be enrolled for E-Certification for a specific property, and enrollment must be completed for each property for which an owner wishes to utilize E-Certification. The paper certification system is still available to those property owners and managers who wish to use it.

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About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) 

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 113,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd 

About the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT)

The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) provides for the sustained, efficient and effective delivery of IT services, infrastructure and telecommunications to enhance service delivery to New York City’s residents, businesses, employees and visitors.  DoITT is at the center of shaping the City’s IT strategy and policy, especially as it relates to the emerging and innovative technologies making government more effective and user-friendly. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/doitt 




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