Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Requests

Article 6 of the New York State Public Officers Law is known as the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The law provides the public access to existing government agency records by written request.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is committed to compliance with FOIL. When a FOIL request is made, the agency acknowledges receipt of the request and then conducts diligent and thorough search for documents that are requested. If responsive record(s) are identified, the record(s) will be made available along with information about any exceptions or redactions. Please note, FOIL requests are limited to accessing existing records; a FOIL request is not a mechanism for asking questions or submitting comments. 

This webpage provides guidance for submitting a FOIL request through NYC OpenRecords, as well as information about other publicly available resources to access data or records. 

Data Resources Available to the Public

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Accessing public data through HPD and other City portals may prove a quicker alternative to submitting a FOIL request. Please check if the data your are seeking is already publicly available before making your FOIL request through NYC OpenRecords.

HPD Open Data

HPD collects various information and data in the course of doing business, much of which is available through HPD's Open Data portal, including:

  • Multiple Dwelling Registration information from owners of residential units
  • Housing Maintenance Code Complaints made by the public through 311 Citizen Services Center, Code Enforcement Borough Offices, and/or Online portals
  • Open Housing Maintenance Code Violations issued by HPD
  • Work Orders created through Emergency Repair Program (ERP), Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), or the Demolition Program
  • Housing New York (HNY) projects and units

Visit HPD's Open Data portal to see if the information you are looking for is already available.

HPD Online for Residential Building Information

HPD Online contains residential building information such as complaints, violations, litigation, registration, building charges, tax block/lot for individual buildings.

Visit HPD Online to see if the information you are looking for is already available.

Department of Finance (DOF) for Property Tax Information

The Department of Finance (DOF) Property Tax Public Access web portal contains property information including:

  • Tax Class
  • Market Value
  • Tax Exemptions
  • Property Tax Bills
  • Annual Notices of Property value (NOPV)
  • Other DOF statements

Visit the Property Tax Public Access web portal to see if the information you are looking for is already available.

Department of Finance (DOF) for Property Records

The DOF Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) contains property records (deeds, mortgages, or mortgage-related documents) and document images for Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, and Brooklyn from 1966 to the present.

Visit Property Records to see if the information you are looking for is already available.

Submitting FOIL Requests

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If you would like to make a FOIL request, please submit your FOIL request through NYC OpenRecords. Please note that HPD no longer accepts FOIL requests by email.

If you prefer to submit a written FOIL request, please address and mail your letter to HPD at:

HPD Records Access Officer
100 Gold Street, Room 4-O3
New York, NY 10038

Detailed Submission Instructions

The NYC OpenRecords system allows the public to submit written FOIL requests to NYC agencies.

To submit a FOIL request to HPD:

  1. Select “Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)” from the agency dropdown menu
  2. Describe the records you are seeking, including as much of the following information as possible:
    • Location details (address, borough, block, and lot), if applicable
    • Time period
    • Type of records
    • Subject matter or key words
    • Any other information that will enable the Records Access Officer to identify the records you are requesting
  3. The more specific the FOIL request, the more efficient it is for HPD to perform a diligent and thorough search for records. Broad requests, especially those that ask for “any and all information”, may significantly extend the time it will take HPD to search, review, and release any responsive records.

Response Timeline

Under the law, agencies have five business days to acknowledge a FOIL request. Upon acknowledgement, HPD will provide an approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted or denied. The agency will then begin to conduct a diligent and thorough search for responsive records.

Any records identified through this process will be thoroughly reviewed by HPD to ensure the agency applies any applicable exemption under the law, including privacy protections for personal information. There may be instances when HPD will need to contact the requester for additional authorizations before releasing certain information.

If records are being requested for an upcoming court date, please allow sufficient time for the FOIL response. As an alternative, you may access the records via subpoena, which is often faster.

HPD assesses each request individually and provides what is determined to be a reasonable timeframe given the circumstances of the request. A number of factors will help the agency decide the amount of time required for a thorough and diligent search for responsive records:

  • Age of records: More recent records generally tend to be easier to pinpoint
  • Location of records: Many existing records are in paper format and reside in the city archives. Archived files generally take a longer time to pinpoint due to the file retrieval process
  • Complex requests: Requests that contain agency documents or information that touch upon more than one HPD division will require searches to be conducted in each division
  • Very broad requests: FOIL requests with undefined timeframes, expansive subject areas, or nonspecific descriptions can result in an extremely large quantity of responsive records to be reviewed. In such cases, the agency may ask if you are able to narrow the request to enable a quicker turnaround time

Providing greater detail and focusing the request will help the agency perform an efficient, diligent and thorough search and will often assist the agency in locating the record more quickly.

Questions and Appeals

If you have questions concerning a FOIL request currently in progress, requesters may submit questions about specific FOIL requests through NYC OpenRecords by using the "Contact the Agency" link available on every request page.

You may also contact HPD FOIL directly at, by calling 212-863-8347, or by writing to:

HPD Records Access Officer
100 Gold Street, Room 4-O3
New York, NY 10038

When HPD FOIL has closed the FOIL request, you may appeal the Agency’s determination within 30 days by contacting:

HPD Records Access Appeals Officer
100 Gold Street, Room 5-C2
New York, NY 10038

The Records Access Appeals Officer will assist with requests that have been closed, not those currently in progress.