Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  1. What is a Summons/Notice of Violation?
  2. How do I know when my hearing date is?
  3. Why was my hearing scheduled for a certain day?
  4. How can I change my hearing date?
  5. What happens if I do not show up to my hearing?
  6. How can I prove I am not responsible for the summons?
  7. Do I need a lawyer?
  8. Can I pay the penalty without attending a hearing?
  9. Do I have to go to OATH to fight my summons?
  10. I reported a violation. Can I participate in the OATH hearing?
  11. How can I find out information about a summons?
  12. What do I do when I arrive at OATH for my hearing?
  13. What happens during the OATH hearing?
  14. What happens after the OATH hearing?
  15. If I am found in violation, what happens?
  16. What can I do if I disagree with the Hearing Officer's decision in my case?
  17. What can I do if OATH enters a default order against me?
  18. Where can I find information to help me understand some of the terms on the summons or from the hearing?
  19. I am hearing impaired. Will the City provide a sign-language interpreter?
  20. I do not speak English. Will OATH provide an interpreter?
  21. Why am I getting notices to pay my summons when I already paid?
  22. How can I get a copy of my summons or the hearing decision? 
  23. Why did I get a summons?
  24. I received a summons; what do I do?
  25. When I appear for my hearing will the Issuing Officer be present? How do I get a hearing with the Issuing Officer?
  26. I had a hearing. How do I obtain a transcript of the proceedings?
  27. I am not the person named on the summons but it is my property. Should I come for a hearing?
  28. My name is on the summons but I do not own the property. Should I come for a hearing?
  29. How did my name get attached to a summons for a property I never owned? Why do I keep getting summonses in my name?
  30. How do I remove my name as owner of property I do not own? How do I stop mailings to me for other people's summonses for a property I do not own?
  31. I am a new owner and want to clear up outstanding summonses on my property. Can I have a hearing on the summonses issued to the previous owner?
  32. Can I have my hearing on a different day than the scheduled date on the summons?
  33. Can I appear at any OATH location for a hearing?
  1. What is a Summons/Notice of Violation?
    It is a ticket issued to you by a City agency. OATH does not conduct inspections and OATH does not write or issue summonses. Summonses are filed at OATH by the City’s various inspection and enforcement agencies. At OATH, you will get a fair, impartial hearing in front of an independent hearing officer.

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  2. How do I know when my hearing date is?
    The hearing date is written on the summons. If your summons does not have a hearing date, call the OATH Clerk’s Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692). You can also look up your summons on the OATH summons finder application which is on this website.

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  3. Why was my hearing scheduled for a certain day?
    OATH holds hearings on different days. The day OATH will hold your hearing often depends on the type of violation you are charged with. Each OATH borough office has its own schedule. For example, the Queens office hears Building Code tickets only on Tuesdays. You should come to your hearing on the date and time stated on the summons. For certain types of summonses you may have a hearing by mailonline, or by phone. If you do not come to your hearing, you may lose certain rights you have under the law.

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  4. How can I change my hearing date?
    To change the date of your hearing, call the OATH Clerk’s Office helpline at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692). If your summons lists an OATH hearing office to go to for your hearing, call that OATH office.

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  5. What happens if I do not show up to my hearing?
    If you do not show up to your hearing, OATH will find you in default. This means that you will be found responsible for the alleged violation and you will have to pay an additional fine. A default may lead the City to enter a judgment against you in civil court.
    Learn more about vacating a default

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  6. How can I prove I am not responsible for the summons?
    If you believe that you are not responsible, or have some other answer to the summons, you must have a hearing. At a hearing you will state under oath (testify to) your story of the facts about the summons. You may bring other people to testify (witnesses). You may also present papers, photos, and other documents. These other papers should support what you say at your hearing. Examples of evidence you may want to bring are deeds, drawings, maps, licenses, permits, envelopes (to show mailing or receipt dates), and photos.
    Learn more about hearings

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  7. Do I need a lawyer?
    No. But you may have a lawyer present if you wish and at your own expense. Many people choose to speak for themselves at OATH hearings.

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  8. Can I pay the penalty without attending a hearing?
    For some summonses, the answer is yes. Some summonses may be resolved by paying the penalty in person, online, or by mail. Read the front of the summons to see if you may do this. You should carefully read and follow any instructions on your summons. Remember that if you pay the penalty, OATH deems that an admission that you were in violation and you waive your right to the OATH hearing. For other summonses you may be required to come to the OATH hearing even if you wish to admit to the violation.
    Pay a violation
    Understand a violation

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  9. Do I have to go to OATH to fight my summons?
    Depends. For certain summonses you must come to OATH for a hearing in-person. Most summonses can be conducted by mailonline, or by phone.

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  10. I reported a violation. Can I participate in the OATH hearing?
    All OATH hearings are open to the public and the public can sit on and watch the hearing. If you want to speak at the hearing, you must ask the Hearing Officer that is holding the hearing on the case. In some cases, people affected by the outcome of the case may be able to speak during the hearing. Call the OATH Clerk’s Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692) to learn more.

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  11. How can I find out information about a summons?
    Use OATH's SummonsFinder to get information about a summons. If you need to speak to an OATH clerk, please call 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692). You will need to have the summons number or the address cited on the summons.

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  12. What do I do when I arrive at OATH for my hearing?
    When you arrive at OATH, you will need to check-in at the reception window or desk (depending on the borough). At that time, you will be given a Notice of Appearance form to complete. Return your completed form and your summons to the receptionist. Then wait for a Hearing Officer to call you for your hearing and follow the Hearing Officer into the hearing room.

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  13. What happens during the OATH hearing?
    Once everyone is in the hearing room, the Hearing Officer will turn on the recording device. This may be a tape recorder or a computer. The Hearing Officer will introduce him or herself. He or she will explain how ECB hearings are conducted. The Hearing Officer will take statements from the agency witnesses if any. Then you and any other witnesses will respond. The Hearing Officer will look at any documents (papers, photos, etc.) that the parties or witnesses give to him or her. He or she will hear any legal arguments from you and the agency representative.

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  14. What happens after the OATH hearing?
    After the hearing the Hearing Officer will write a Decision. The Decision is then mailed to the parties.

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  15. If I am found in violation, what happens?
    You must pay the penalty imposed in your case. You must also follow any additional directions. For example, you might be ordered to correct the problems stated in the summons. All DOB-issued summonses require a Certificate of Correction to be filed with the DOB.

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  16. What can I do if I disagree with the hearing officer's decision?
    If you disagree with the Hearing Officer's decision, you are allowed to file an appeal.

    To file an appeal, you must complete and submit  an Appeals Application Form (available online or at any OATH ECB location) within 30 days of the mail date of the Decision. The appeals application can be mailed, delivered in person or submitted online at www.nyc.gov/oath. You must serve the issuing agency with a copy of your appeal and make payment to OATH (or apply for a hardship waiver) of the imposed amount.

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  17. What can I do if OATH enters a default order against me?
    If you receive a default order and penalty from OATH, you may:

    1. Admit the violation and pay the penalty, including any late penalties that may have been added, or
    2. ask for a hearing after your failure to appear.
    To request a hearing after a failure to appear follow the instructions printed on the back of your  Default Order or please visit the Defaults Section of this website for more information.

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  18. Where can I find information to help me understand some of the terms on the summons or from the hearing?
    This site has a glossary of legal terms commonly used at OATH. 

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  19. I am hearing impaired. Will the City provide a sign-language interpreter?
    Yes. Call the OATH Clerk’s Office helpline at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692) before your hearing if you need a sign language interpreter. Once we have notified you of the new hearing date, it is important that you come to OATH on the right date and at the right time. The interpreters will not wait for you if you are late.

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  20. I do not speak English. Will OATH provide an interpreter?
    Yes. In any hearing the Hearing Officer can get an interpreter over the phone. When you check in, tell the receptionist you need an interpreter and the language you speak. When you go into the hearing room, tell the Hearing Officer that you need an interpreter. If you do not ask for an interpreter but then you decide during the hearing that you need one, tell the Hearing Officer.

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  21. Why am I getting notices to pay my summons when I already paid?
    ECB may have sent you a notice to pay before we received your payment. To see if OATH got your payment, you may:
    1. Use OATH's SummonsFinder to find your summons and the balance due;
    2. Call OATH's Clerk's Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692);
    3. Visit the Department of Finance ePayment Center 

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  22. How can I get a copy of my summons or the hearing decision?
    You can use OATH's SummonsFinder to find information about summonses. If the information you are looking for is not available using the OATH's SummonsFinder, you can call the OATH's Clerk's Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692) or 311 to get a copy of your summons or hearing decision. You must provide your summons or notice number when you call. After OATH processes your request, it will either (1) mail you a copy; or (2) let you pick up a copy at OATH. The first two copies are free. Each extra copy is $0.25.

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  23. Why did I get a summons?
    You received a summons because a city agency claims that you violated a rule or law.

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  24. I received a summons; what do I do?
    You can admit the violation and pay the fine or you can have a hearing to fight the summons.
    How to respond to a summons

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  25. When I appear for my hearing will the Issuing Officer be present? How do I get a hearing with the Issuing Officer?
    Issuing Officers are not usually present at the hearings. If either party wants the Issuing Officer at the hearing, that party must ask the Hearing Officer and tell the Hearing Officer why the Issuing Officer is needed. The Hearing Officer will then make a decision.

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  26. I had a hearing. How do I obtain a transcript of the proceedings?
    OATH does not provide written transcripts. OATH can supply a copy of the audio recording from the hearing. To get a copy of the audio recording you must fill out a “Request for Audio Hearing Recording” form in person or call the Clerk’s Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692) to obtain a blank form. A small fee will apply.

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  27. I am not the person named on the summons but it is my property. Should I come for a hearing?
    You may need to appear for a hearing to explain why you think the summons was issued incorrectly.

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  28. My name is on the summons but I do not own the property. Should I come for a hearing?
    If you are the person named on the summons, you or your authorized representative must appear at the hearing. If you do not appear at the hearing when required, you will be found in violation. You may also have to pay a higher fine.
    How to respond to a summons

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  29. How did my name get attached to a summons for a property I never owned? Why do I keep getting summonses in my name?
    In order to clear the matter you must appear at the hearing.

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  30. How do I remove my name as owner of a property I do not own? How do I stop mailings to me for other people's summonses for property I do not own?
    You should contact the Department of Finance with questions about property records and ownership.

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  31. I am a new owner and want to clear up outstanding summonses on my property. Can I have a hearing on the summonses issued to the previous owner?
    Depends. If the summons was issued to the previous owner before you owned the property, you cannot have a hearing.

    If the summons was issue to the previous owner while you owned the property, you can have a hearing.

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  32. Can I have my hearing on a different day than the scheduled date on the summons?
    This depends on the type of summons you received. For further information call OATH's Clerk's Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692).

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  33. Can I appear at any OATH location for a hearing?
    Many summonses must be heard in the borough where they were issued. For further information call OATH's Clerk's Office at 1-844-OATH-NYC (1-844-628-4692).

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Resources
ECB Hearings OpenData Portal
ECB Board Meeting Calendar
Legal Resources
Appeal Decisions
Hearings Division Rules
Glossary of Legal Terms

Ticket-Issuing Agencies
Business Integrity Commission (BIC)
Department of Buildings (DOB)
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Fire Department (FDNY)
Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
(DoITT)

Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)
Department of Parks
& Recreation (DPR)

Police Department (NYPD)
Department of Sanitation
(DSNY)

Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
Department of Transportation (DOT)