Question about DOB Violation


    A neighboring property has some sort of structure that sits right near my property line and and looks very shoddy. I notified DOB about this and they came and issued a ECB violation for work without a permit ( law section 28-105.1).

    I bought the house a few months back and neighbor had his extension already there. The lady that owned the house before me was very old, and probably had no idea that she could complain about the structure. One day while parking in the driveway I noticed that the neigbor had garbage flowing over the fence. I told him about it and he did nothing. That’s what prompted me to call DOB.

    Went to the DOB website and they fined him $1600, but I thought DOB would be far more strict that that.

    From DOB:

    He is actually a bit over a foot from my property line. I was there when DOB guy showed up and said his structure was unsafe, and I’m surprised to see they only issued a $1600 fine. What about the illegal, unsafe extension near the property line. If that’s teh case why would anyone get a permit if you can just pay “small money” to let the problem go away. Im sure what he built would have cost thousands more and probably wouldn’t have been approved in the first place.

    12 Replies

    1. I don’t see anything good about this construction. Boarded up windows, cinder block, bad roofing. Also it’s 24 inches, maybe less from my property line, not 12 feet. His construction is a 20x 30x 8 extension!!!! Also as you can tell in the pics, his construction was hidden behind another neighbors garage, and probably why he was abe to get away with it.

      In the last pic he had already cleaned up the mess he had, and I hadn’t changed the gate as yet. The boards he has along the gate was used so he can pack his garbage higher. Surely, this is nothing like the shaky canopy you speak of.

    2. @ CMU,

      Just so you know, I did tell hm about his garbage the next day after closing on my property. It took him three weeks to remove it. The first week I went away and left my father in-law to watch over the house. My father in-law was afraid to park the car in the driveway because the neighbor had skids, chairs, and other wood materials hanging over the fence. At that time it was a chain link fence that was so bad that the neighbor reinforced it with metal chains. On my vacation I got a call from my father-in-law saying that he’s going to leave one car on the street because he didn’t want anything to happen in the driveway. Why should any of my cars sit on the street because a neighbor doesnt want to clean up his mess?

    3. If it makes you feel any better, if and when this guy tries to pull a building permit for ANY work in the future, DOB will levy a fairly substantial civil penalty (or at least they’ll try)…

    4. DOB didnt issue the $1600 fine. ECB violations go to ECB court where a judge determines the fines. DOB has no say how much the fine is.

      When DOB issues a DOB vio, then they assign the fine, which is based on a set schedule that is hard to understand

    5. Complaining about garbage is reasonable. But OP specifically seems to dislike the “shoddy” existent construction. Whether or not it is “unsafe” I take with a grain of salt…for example, my neighbor has a permanent deck canopy that if I were paranoid I might consider a bit on the weak side, but unless I saw it shaking in the wind or dropping pieces, I wouldn’t complain. And I would talk t them first.

      Gentrifying comment…like people moving into an “artistic” neighborhood and complaining about noise.

    6. cmu, it sounds like OP wouldn’t have made the report if the neighbor weren’t a pig who had garbage spilling into OP’s property. It’s kind of insulting to imply that only gentrifyers have a problem with garbage spilling from their neighbor’s property onto theirs – wouldn’t anyone have an issue with that?

    7. The $1600 fine is only the first step. Your neighbor will have to go to an ECB hearing and explain why he built an addition without a permit. Even if he pays the fine, he still has to remove the DOB violation – which will entail hiring an architect or an engineer to deal with removal or legalization. DOB fees for legalizing work done without a permit can get hefty. If it is, indeed, within 12 feet of the rear yard property line, it may not comply with zoning. If the neighbor chooses to ignore the situation, the fine can increase and he will certainly have trouble selling the property in the future.

    8. Boy, am I lucky we don’t have neighbors like you guys on my block. Hey, this is Brooklyn, not Brookline. You move in and complain about an existing structure? Half the stuff here is “unsafe” or “shoddy” or not-to-code and it’s been around a lot longer than you.

      This is the downside of gentrification.

    9. You didn’t notice the overflowing garbage and dangerous shed when you bought the house?
      Did he even pay the fine? Did he show up for the hearing?

      Try complaining to the fire dept. about potential fire hazards for more effective enforcement.

    10. Hi,

      Not over the property line, but his massive extension comes a foot away from my gate. What then happens is that he piles garbage and other things to the point where it’s spilling over the gate.