On April 27, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced the relaunch of two initiatives aimed at improving building safety while removing financial penalties. The No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program and the No-Penalty Deck and Retaining Wall Inspection Program incentivizes small business owners and other property owners to ensure their buildings are safe without the worry of a penalty if there is an issue to be fixed.
New York City property owners are required to maintain their buildings in a safe and code-compliant condition by law. Outdoor structures like decks or retaining walls can be subject to weather, age or improper installation which weaken them over time. The fear of additional penalties and fines on top of the cost of repairs can discourage property owners from ensuring that the structures on their property are safe.
From now until May 31, 2022, participants can call 311 to request a free inspection by the Department of Buildings (DOB) to determine if their outdoor structures are safe. Following each inspection, DOB will share findings with property owners. If unsafe conditions are found, property owners will receive guidance on how to correct each issue without receiving a violation or penalty if repairs are made promptly.
The No-Penalty Deck and Retaining Wall Inspection Program was first launched in 2005, and through this program DOB has performed hundreds of inspections. The No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program was launched in 2020 to assist small businesses.
Mayor Adams stated, “Government is most effective when we bring services directly to the people, and these initiatives keep New Yorkers safe by doing exactly that. We want to identify issues before they become safety hazards, and we are doing that by partnering with small business and property owners instead of penalizing them.”
DOB Acting Commissioner Constadino “Gus” Sirakis, P.E. stated, “It’s no secret that proactive property maintenance is the best way to prevent costly damage and potential accidents. I encourage small businesses and property owners in our city to take advantage of these programs and get started on their spring property maintenance to make sure their building is up to snuff.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)