March 3, 2021
New Department of Buildings regulation blocks owners of residential buildings with a high proportion of hazardous violations from obtaining new construction permits
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio joined Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today to announce new restrictions for landlords with multiple violations for unsafe or hazardous conditions. This new measure allows DOB to deny new construction permit applications at properties where landlords may be using poor building maintenance as a tool to harass their tenants.
These changes build off the legislation sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan and passed by the Council, Local Law 104 of 2019.
DOB will create and maintain a list of multiple dwellings in New York City with excessive, open, and hazardous DOB and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) violations in relation to the number of residential units. The list will be updated daily. Buildings placed on this list will be prevented from obtaining new permits until the violations are resolved and the conditions are corrected, except in situations where permits are necessary to correct a violation or other select circumstances.
“Safe, livable, fair housing starts with accountability – and New York City will not let landlords take advantage of their tenants without consequences,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These restrictions will encourage faster and more thorough fixes to poor building maintenance. This city is proud to stand with tenants who deserve responsive management.”
“We are looking out for tenants and pushing landlords to take responsibility for their properties,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “This new measure sends a clear message to bad actors: No more business as usual. It’s past time to bring your existing buildings into compliance and derelict buildings up to code.”
“This Administration is using all its tools to protect tenants and hold landlords accountable. These new measures will help us ensure that owners are making necessary repairs for existing tenants before beginning other construction work,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “We’re grateful to DOB for their ongoing partnership in protecting New Yorkers and making sure they have safe, quality housing.”
The permit restriction, which begins today, will apply to violations issued on or after January 4, 2020, the date Local Law 104 of 2019 went into effect. Restrictions will address violations that have not been certified as having been resolved with DOB or cleared by HPD. The permit denials will be applied to buildings with the following ratios of violations to dwelling units:
The permit restrictions will also be applied to submissions in the Department’s DOB NOW portal in the near future.
New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report any hazardous living conditions or to report non-compliant or unsafe construction conditions. For more resources, tenants can also visit the Department’s Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) page.
“I commend Commissioners La Rocca and Carroll for focusing on the longstanding question of how to hold landlords accountable for unsafe and hazardous conditions in the buildings they own,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Housing Committee. “As we continue our efforts to protect New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that we ensure that everyone has access to safe and decent living conditions. By preventing landlords who fail to keep their buildings up to code from obtaining new construction permits, the City will be helping to make it unprofitable to be irresponsible. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done; I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at all levels of government toward the goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers have a stable, affordable, safe, and hazard-free place to live.”
“The vast majority of our city’s residential building owners are conscientious about keeping their properties free of violations, but those bad actors who repeatedly fail to maintain their properties at the expense of their tenants’ safety should be held accountable for their actions,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Housing Committee. “I commend these new measures for helping to ensure that New York City families live in safe and decent housing — something that everyone deserves.”
“I have great respect for the many landlords that take their responsibilities seriously and who repair buildings when necessary. I am glad to help owners who face real hardships—for instance, I introduced legislation to extend the time for owners to get certain inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic. But if you cannot maintain your buildings, it is more than fair to block you from building new ones. As a legislator, it is my duty to protect New Yorkers from needless injuries. If you are endangering New Yorkers with excessive buildings violations, then strong action is necessary from preventing you from creating new dangers,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.
“Our City will not stand idly on the sidelines when bad actors lower the quality of life for New Yorkers. Blatant disregard to remediate Department of Building violations will never be accepted and I thank Commissioner La Rocca for implementing this restriction,” said Council Member Paul A. Vallone.