NYC Department of Buildings (DOB)

The New York City Department of Buildings ensures the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties by enforcing the City's Building Code, Electrical Code, Zoning Resolution and New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. The agency's main activities include performing examinations of building plans, issuing construction permits, inspecting properties, and licensing of construction trades. When a property is found in non compliance with certain laws and codes, an ECB or DOB violation may be served or issued. See below for more information on violations. Uncorrected ECB and DOB violations may impair the sale or refinancing of a property because a title search will show outstanding violation against it.

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 - Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is the key document used to certify the legal use and occupancy of a building/property. The Certificate describes how a building may be occupied, if an existing building changes use and or occupancy or if a new construction is planned, an amended or new Certificate of Occupancy is necessary. All new buildings must obtain a CO before they can be legally occupied. Owners must obtain a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy where construction changes the use, egress, or occupancy to an existing building. Under New York Code, buildings erected prior to 1938 did not require a certificate of occupancy but can have one. If you require proof of a buildings use or allowed use, you can apply for a "Letter of No Objection" which isued in place (lieu) of a CO. For more information on certificate of occupancy click here.

A Certificate of Occupancy is often required when selling a home or even refinancing a mortgage. This is why internal research into city records is vital to the real estate market. This research can be extremely overwhelming and time consuming; New York City records can date back to the early 1800's.

The Property Report team can search, locate and analyze these and other city records to provide an occupancy report to help in your determination of what a property is and can be occupied as. You can easily order this report directly from your account once logged in. 

 - Violations

In response to complaints and requests for inspections that come from the public, community boards, or other City agencies, DOB inspects buildings and issues violations when a building does not comply with applicable codes. The most common type of violation issued is called an ECB violation.

The ECB Notice of Violation (NOV) is the most common type of violation issued by the Department of Buildings when a property does not comply with a part of the New York City Building Code and/or Zoning Resolution. It also contains an order to correct the violating condition and to certify correction at the DOB Administrative Enforcement Unit.

ECB Violations can be Non-Hazardous or Hazardous.

  • Non-Hazardous and For first time offenders, if the violation is deemed Non-Hazardous the owner is generally given 35 days from the date the violation is issued to certify correction and avoid having to attend a hearing and/or pay a penalty. Curing the violation is an admission of guilt. Stipulations may also be offered for first time offenders.
  • Hazardous (and multiple offense) violations generally require the owner to attend an ECB hearing. There are a wide range of hazardous violations including, but not limited to: variations from approved plans that significantly diminish structural stability, fire rating, fire suppression, illegal alterations and occupancies, or means of egress and general construction safety and unsafe site conditions that cannot be immediately corrected. Immediately Hazardous Class-1 Violations must immediately be corrected and certify correction. Failure to certify correction will result in the issuance of a DOB violation with a $1,500 civil penalty. This civil penalty is in addition to penalties assessed by ECB Court.

For more information about the environmental control board.

The Department also issues a DOB violation, which notifies a property owner that a property is not in compliance with some provision of applicable law and includes an order from the DOB Commissioner to correct the condition. Typically there is no fine or penalty attached to a DOB violation; it can be used as the basis for a Criminal Court summons and prosecution, which may result in the imposition of a fine and/or imprisonment. There are supplemental violations that do carry a Civil Penalty and or fine which must be paid. Violations must be corrected before a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy can be obtained. The requirements to dismiss DOB violations from the properties record vary depending on the type of violation issued. The respondent must correct the condition and submit proof of that correction to the unit issuing the violation; if there is a hazardous condition, a re-inspection is conducted to confirm compliance before a DOB violation is dismissed on record.

Uncorrected ECB and DOB violations may impair the sale or refinancing of a property because a title search will show outstanding violation against it.

Violation Types

  • Local Law 62/1991/Boiler Inspection Violation

    A computer-generated violation issued to owners that fail to submit evidence of annual inspections of their boiler(s) on time. This requirement pertains to residential buildings with 6 or more units, commercial and mixed-use buildings.

  • Façade Violation (local Law 10/80 & 11/98)
  • Local Law 10/1981/Elevator Inspection Violation

    A computer-generated violation issued to owners that fail to have an annual, 3 or 5 year test performed and filed for elevator devices in their building. This violation can carry a late filing fee and civil penalty.

  • PVT-Elevator Violation
  • UB-Unsafe Building
  • Vacate Order
  • Stop Work Order

    The DOB issues a Stop Work Order when Inspectors find hazardous or unsafe work and/or conditions. Stop Work Orders are issued to protect workers, tenants, the public as well as buildings and properties from unsafe conditions. If work continues against the order, additional violations may be issued and civil penalties imposed.

  • Work Without a Permit

    You must stop all work at property before you encounter additional violations and or fines. Typically these violations will require a permit in order to clear it. The owner of the building and person performing the work may be subject to fines and possibly a court summons (depending on severity). There also maybe an imposition of a civil penalty when filing a permit to legalize the condition.