New interactive DOB map pinpoints buildings putting tenants at risk

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The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has published what it describes as “a new, real-time interactive map showing the location of multiple dwellings in the city that are currently facing restrictions on what construction permits they can obtain, due to high proportions of hazardous violations issued by DOB and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

The Department of Buildings released the map on April 12 to “further assist with the implementation of Local Law 104 of 2019 and provide a new level of transparency for the public, by calling out specific properties for their continued failure to keep their buildings in a safe and code-compliant condition,” DOB said in a statement.

“Landlords are on notice: fix your buildings and keep your tenants safe,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca, “New Yorkers now have easy access to information that lets them know if a landlord is behind on fixing hazardous conditions in their buildings, and where any new work could be a form of tenant harassment. We’re proud to look out for our neighbors and helping build a fairer city for all.”

Properties that are highlighted on the map will be prevented from obtaining DOB work permits until the violations associated with those properties are resolved and the conditions are corrected, except in situations where permits are necessary to correct a violation or other select circumstances. Viewers can see both the number of DOB and HPD violations for a given property on the map, as well as the violations per unit. The map will be updated daily, as buildings are added or taken off the list.

The permit restrictions, which began last month, will apply to violations issued on or after January 4, 2020, the date Local Law 104 went into effect. Restrictions will address violations that have not been certified as having been resolved with DOB or cleared by HPD.

The properties on this map subject to these permit denials, were determined to have the following ratios of violations to dwelling units:

  • Buildings with 35 or more dwelling units and two or more violations for every unit.
  • Buildings with fewer than 35 dwelling units and three or more violations for every unit.

The permit restrictions will also be applied to submissions in the Department’s DOB NOW portal in the near future.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report any hazardous living conditions or to report non-compliant or unsafe construction conditions. For more resources, tenants can also visit the Department’s Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) page.

“I have great respect for the many landlords that take their responsibilities seriously and who repair buildings when necessary,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “I am glad to help owners who face real hardships—for instance, I introduced legislation to extend the time for owners to get certain inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But if you cannot maintain your buildings, it is more than fair to block you from getting permits for new projects. As a legislator, it is my duty to protect New Yorkers from needless injuries. If you are endangering New Yorkers with excessive buildings violations, then strong action is necessary from preventing you from creating new dangers,” Cornegy said in the statement.

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