Vacate Order FAQs

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A Vacate Order has been placed on my building. What happens next?

Your landlord/property owner must file an application with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to correct the condition(s) that led to the Vacate Order. Unfortunately, in some situations the property owner may not be able to legalize or correct the condition(s) that caused the Vacate Order.

I am a Rent Regulated Tenant. Is there anything I can do to protect my rights?

Many rent-controlled tenants and people living in rent stabilized apartments do not know they can file to legally reduce their monthly rent to $1/month to protect their tenancy rights. Contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) for more information. A lawyer or the Emergency Housing Services unit of the NYC Housing Preservation and Development can also help you file with DHCR. Visit DHCR's website at for more information.

What if my landlord does not file for permits to fix the building? Is there anything I can do?

Your rights will vary depending on whether you live in a rent stabilized, rent controlled or market-rate apartment, and the extent of the damage to the building, among other factors. We recommend you consult with a lawyer familiar with New York State and New York City housing laws. There are free options available for eligible tenants. Visit the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants at for a list of tenant resources.

How can I receive updates about work being done?

You can track the permit application history online either through DOB's Building Information Systems (BIS) or the DOB NOW Public Portal. Once an owner has filed a permit application to correct the condition, you can sign up for automatic Job Status updates.

  • Using the DOB NOW Public Portal, fill in the house number, street name and borough and click Search.
  • Using BIS, fill in the address of the building and click Go. This will bring you to the Property Profile. Scroll to the bottom left to Job Filings. Then select the corresponding Job Number.

When will I be allowed to return to retrieve my belongings?

Please contact your landlord and the respective DOB borough office. Please note that in some instances, it may not be safe to allow retrieval.

How do I know when it is safe to return?

After the condition is corrected, the building owner must request that the DOB Vacate Order be lifted. DOB will then inspect the work and if appropriate, rescind the Vacate Order.

Do I lose my rights to the apartment if I am vacated?

Your rights to return will vary, and likely depend on if your apartment is subject to rent control, rent stabilization or if it is market-rate. We recommend that you consult with a lawyer familiar with NYS and NYC housing laws.

I can't afford a lawyer, are there options for free legal services?

If you cannot afford an attorney, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline. The Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants publishes a list of free housing legal service providers that are there to assist you in returning to your apartment. There are eligibility requirements. Visit the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants at for a list of tenant resources.