DOB Announces Homeowner Relief Program

Image Credit: NYC DOB.

Violations for illegal conversions or violations associated with injury or death will not qualify. On September 1, 2021, the Department of Buildings announced the first homeowner relief program in New York City to help property owners of one- and two-family houses. The program’s goal is to help small property owners avoid fines by giving them time to fix DOB violations. The program has education initiatives for homeowners about their legal requirements as property owners without imposing large fines.

Eligibly for the program is open to all one- and two-family homes in New York City that have not received a DOB violation in the last five years, as well as new owners who recently purchased a one- or two-family home. However, if there’s a violation of illegal conversion or the violations are associated with an injury or death, those homeowners are disqualified.

During an inspection under this new program, if an inspector finds a violation at an eligible one or two-family homes, the homeowners will not be issued an immediate violation. Instead, the inspector will inform the owner of the violation and have 60 days to fix.

In addition, to the program, the DOB is announcing a rule change to the existing curable violation program. The rule change will extend the cure period for non-safety-related violations issued by the DOB for all one- and two-family homeowners from 40 to 60 days. All Class 3 violations and many Class 2 violations are currently eligible to be cured. The violation is cured when the homeowner demonstrates to the DOB the conditions are remedied; the violation can be resolved without an OATH hearing and penalties.

Lastly, there is a new educational initiative for new building owners to make them aware of their responsibilities as property owners in New York City. The DOB has complied a resource letter for all new building and condominium owners. The resource will include information about the building and details of an outstanding summons and how to resolve them, open permits, periodic inspections, and work with the DOB if the owners want to do construction.

Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca stated, “Simply issuing punishing fines to those who can least afford them is hardly the best outcome for achieving compliance. I am proud to announce these new initiatives designed to help small homeowners get their properties up to code and avoid fines, which ultimately means a safer city for everyone.”

City Council Member Paul Vallone stated, ” One and Two-Family homeowners need support through these difficult times, and I applaud DOB and the Mayor for recognizing this with their Homeowner Relief Program. It is imperative that we work with all New Yorkers to help them recover from the devastating past year.”

By: Taylor Barje (Taylor is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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