DOB and Old (New) Violations

    by

    I need some serious advice and direction – after this brief rant!
    I stupidly let a DOB inspector into my basement (I know!) on a bogus work without a permit complaint (yes, I have an enemy in my house-long story) but I had nothing to hid, or so I thought. When we bought the house from a “contractor/developer” whatever work was in progress was stopped, “duh, I’m dumping the house”, I get that part. “Developer” does it by the books, permits? yes, we checked. Inspections – OK, Bank – OK, DOB (as far as I know) – OK! Years later now I have someone elses (“developer”) unfinished business as my violation. No one is truely honest any more.

    The Inspector was also on a fishing trip and sited all sorts of things that have been a certain way for years, so someone sent them on a mission and I let the enemy into my house. I cannot tell you how angry this makes me and how stupid I feel. So beware. Lesson learned.

    So, can anyone clue me in on what I do now? I’m just a normal schmo. Some of the things I can fix myself, some of the things I will need someone professional, so that’s all OK (sort of) Its the “get a permit” to finish work that may or may not be legal part that I need the most advice on.
    Do I need an architect, an engineer, a permit pulling person? who?
    Thanks!

    6 Replies

    1. I’ve gotten nabbed for Work w/o Permit for a furnace conversion- oil –> gas which was done prior to my owning the building.

      Jim Hill/above is right. Even though the work was already done, and shown to have been completed on my pre-purchase home inspection; the DOB was not sympathetic.
      Actually, I had to go to ECB (DOB court).

      The process was odd– I had to have the plumbers do the work without a permit, because in order to get the permit I had to go to court, pay fine, THEN the permit would be issued. They sort of backed around into it–

      I hired a licensed plumber etc. My RE lawyer and I showed up at the ECB hearing, and
      the long and short of it was I had to pay a $2,400. fine. Then the permit was released, I
      got it inspected and it passed. Done– well almost.

      Once you’ve gotten it done, don’t forget to go downtown (NYC) to get the release/ removal of the violation on the DOB profile for your property. I don’t recall the term. This is just last minute paperwork (like a DMV visit) but if unfinished your property profile will continue to show the violation(s).

    2. I’ve gotten nabbed for Work w/o Permit for a furnace conversion- oil –> gas which was done prior to my owning the building.

      Jim Hill/above is right. Even though the work was already done, and shown to have been completed on my pre-purchase home inspection; the DOB was not sympathetic.
      Actually, I had to go to ECB (DOB court).

      The process was odd– I had to have the plumbers do the work without a permit, because in order to get the permit I had to go to court, pay fine, THEN the permit would be issued. They sort of backed around into it–

      I hired a licensed plumber etc. My RE lawyer and I showed up at the ECB hearing, and
      the long and short of it was I had to pay a $2,400. fine. Then the permit was released, I
      got it inspected and it passed. Done– well almost.

      Once you’ve gotten it done, don’t forget to go downtown (NYC) to get the release/ removal of the violation on the DOB profile for your property. I don’t recall the term. This is just last minute paperwork (like a DMV visit) but if unfinished your property profile will continue to show the violation(s).

    3. OK, here’s a sample.
      The boiler room, cinderblock totally enclosed. The door is the correct firecode door, self-closing, closes by itself, old – maybe 10-15 years. It has no door knob and never did, now all of a sudden it needs a “self latching” door. OK the code changed in 10 years, got that.

      Boiler Heat pipes coming thru cinder block wall have mice size holes surrounding the pipe at the ceiling and I mean small. Violation “open pipe penetrations”. OK not perfectly enclosed. Jeez!

      “Install side-walk shed at entrance”? SIDE-WALK SHED are you kiddin’! Is that one of those garbage can enclosers that always look terrible and falling apart? None of my neighbors on my street have these. Its a residential street with no commercial buildings at all.

      So does this sound FUBAR, or what?

    4. Yep, you are on the hook for whatever was done. It does not matter if you did the work or not. Hire an architect, not a violations removal expert. Too many people come my way after they have spent $$$ going that route.

    5. It depends upon what the actual violations were, but it sounds like you might need to submit plans to the DOB to get a permit to correct the violations. That process is not all that different than filing for a new renovation. Your best bet would be to call one of the architects here and describe the situation in detail.

      Jim Hill, RA, LEED AP