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A primer on ECB Violations

Some New York landlords know all too well how difficult the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and Environmental Control Board (ECB) can make life. Inspectors from the Department of Buildings (DOB) have the power to declare valuable rental property uninhabitable. Violations can potentially come with fines, lost rental income, court costs, penalties/interest and more. A single "Immediately Hazardous" violation, for example, can quickly cost thousands of dollars if not timely resolved.

An ECB summons can generate many questions and concerns, but it's important that you not panic or act hastily. You should give these violations timely attention and due respect, but don't assume that the proverbial sky is falling. Some issues are relatively easy to address, and once they are taken care of, you can file a Certificate of Correction with the DOB.

Notice of a violation

The DOB issues violation summonses upon discovery that a property "does not comply with a part of the New York City Construction Codes and/or Zoning Resolutions." Violations can come from a variety of different causes, including:

  • Presence of asbestos in the premises
  • Presence of lead paint in the premises
  • Lack of clean water
  • Air quality issues
  • Pests (including cockroaches, mice/rats and bedbugs)
  • Gas leaks
  • Presence of mold in the premises
  • Excessive noise
  • Electrical code violations
  • Illegal waste disposal and dumping
  • Other environmental issues
  • Building code violations (such as not having sprinklers or smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, poorly lit stairwells, broken locks)
  • Lack of adequate heating

Whatever the reason you received an ECB violation notice and summons, you don't have to go through this alone. Reach out to an experienced real property attorney for help, guidance and more information about the process. Particularly if you are a new landlord or property owner, you might need someone with in-depth knowledge of OATH/ECB violations and hearings to stand by your side.

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