11 Signs to Post in Building Lobby or Entryway, Part II
Most owners and managers are not aware of all the different signs that are required to be posted in a New York City apartment building. It is difficult to keep up with the sign-posting requirements that are buried in several different city and state laws. However, ignorance is not a valid excuse when an inspector visits your building and issues a fine.
To help you out, here's the second part of a two-part series listing the necessary signs required by law that must be posted in your lobby or entryway. Part I, which was published last month, included information concerning boiler room access, certificate of inspection, smoke detector notices, multiple dwelling registration, and janitor residence signs. The following list will provide detailed information on waste collection, certificate of occupancy, fire safety, carbon monoxide, and no-smoking signage requirements.
Waste Collection Schedule Notice
In certain situations, you must post a sign informing tenants of the hour and method of waste collection.
Who must post. Owners of buildings with three or more apartments must post the sign if the building has no incinerator, dumbwaiter services, or chute on each floor for depositing garbage. Also, a new notice must be posted and maintained within 48 hours preceding any change in the hour or method of waste collection by a pick-up service.
Location. You must post the sign in a conspicuous place.
Penalty. Failure to post the notice is a class-A violation of the NYC Administrative Code and carries a fine of between $10 and $50. If an owner recklessly or purposely does not post the sign, he is guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, the owner can be fined anywhere from $10 to $1,000 and may have to spend up to a year in jail.
Governing laws. NYC Administrative Code §27-2022.
Certificate of Occupancy
You must post the building's certificate of occupancy (C of O) that you get from the Department of Buildings (DOB).
Who must post. Owners of buildings with three or more apartments, if that building has a C of O. Buildings built before 1938 that have not been renovated may not have C of Os because they were not required before that time.
Sign specifications. You must place the C of O in a metal or plastic frame that has a transparent protective covering. The frame should be constructed of corrosion-resistant metal or durable, impact- and flame-resistant plastic. You must provide enough light so that the C of O can be read.
Location. If your building has one or more elevators, you must post the C of O in the building's entrance hall or lobby leading to the elevators. If your building does not have an elevator, you must post the C of O in the main entrance hall to the stairs. If your building does not have an entrance hall, post the C of O near the main entrance door.
If your building has a resident janitor or superintendent, or a building manager's office, you can also post the C of O within the entrance hall of the resident superintendent's apartment or the entrance to the building manager's office.
Wherever you post it, the bottom of the frame must be 54 to 66 inches from the floor.
Penalty. Failure to post the certificate is a DOB violation that carries a fine of up to $5,000.
Governing law. RCNY, Title 1, §4-01.
Owners must post Department of Health (DOH)-approved no-smoking signs in the building's common areas.
Who must post. Owners of buildings with one or more apartments.
Sign specifications. The DOH has approved two types of signs, but you can post a sign that uses “other similar wording.” Here are the DOH-approved options:
> International no-smoking symbol. This is a picture of a lit cigarette enclosed in a circle. A red line intersects the circle diagonally from the top left to the bottom right.
> Sign with the words: NO SMOKING. This sign must be printed in all capital letters. The letters must be large enough so that they can be read easily.
The signs must be printed on a light background, in red and black ink or other highly visible coloring, lettering, or graphics acceptable to the DOH. You can use any other color or variation needed to conform to the architectural and aesthetic pattern of the building, as long as the signs are clearly visible and can be easily read.
Location. You must post the signs in the lobby or entranceway of your building. You must also post the signs in all other common areas of your building. You must post the signs at a height and in a location easily seen by a person in the building. The signs must not be obscured in any way.
Penalty. Failure to post a no-smoking sign is a DOH violation, which carries a fine of up to $200 for the first offense. A second violation within 12 months carries a fine of up to $400; a third or subsequent violation within the same 12-month period carries a fine of up to $1,000.
Governing laws. 24 RCNY §10-12; NYC Administrative Code §17-506 and §17-508.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Owners must post a notice in the building's common areas advising tenants of their rights under the carbon monoxide detector laws.
Who must post. Owners who own a building with three or more apartments.
Sign specifications. The notice must have letters that are bold type, at least three-sixteenths of an inch high, and of a color that contrasts with the background. Also, the letter must be properly spaced to provide good legibility. The notice must also be durable and securely posted on the designated place in the common area, and be metal, plastic, or a decal.
Location. The notice should be posted in a “readily visible” location in the building's common area. It should be in a spot with good lighting so it is easily legible, and preferably near the building's inspection certificate.
Penalty. Failure to post the notice is a class-A violation of the NYC Administrative Code and carries a fine of between $10 and $50.
Governing laws. NYC Administrative Code §27-981, §27-2046; 28 RCNY §28-02, §12-06.
Fire Safety Notice
You must post a fire safety notice that gives certain fire safety information specified by the city's Fire Department.
Who must post. Owners of buildings with three or more apartments.
Content. You must reproduce the information in the fire safety notice prepared by the Fire Department. The information differs depending on whether your building is of noncombustible or combustible construction. You can download copies of the fire safety notice forms from the Fire Department's Web site (http://www.fdny.org).
Sign specifications. The sign you post must be at least 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches, and can be up to 8.5 by 11 inches in size (excluding any frame you may use). It must be printed in English, using contrasting colors for the lettering and background. You can also print it in other languages if you think this would help occupants understand the notice. All text must be clearly legible, and you must use a type size no smaller than 10-point Times New Roman or the equivalent.
Also, the notice must be either: (1) on a single-sided sheet of paper, framed under a clear Plexiglas cover or laminated with a firm backing, and placed on the wall using either mounted hardware or an adhesive; or (2) printed on a matte-finish, vinyl, adhesive-back decal not less than 3mm thick, using thermal printing, screenprinting, or some other permanent, water-resistant printing technique.
Location. You must post the sign in a conspicuous location near any common mailbox area.
Penalty. Failure to post the fire safety notice is a Fire Department violation that carries a fine of up to $5,000. If the owner knows he is violating or failing to follow the Fire Department rules, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor. The owner may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both, for each offense, and may have to pay a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
Governing law. 3 RCNY §43-01.
Building's Fire Safety Plan (Part I)
Fire Department rules require you to have a fire safety plan for your building that gives information about its construction and its fire safety systems. You must post Part I of your building's fire safety plan in the building's common area.
Who must post. Owners of buildings with three or more apartments.
Content. Part I of the fire safety plan is a building information section that you must complete. It includes such information as the building address, the name and address of the owner, the number of floors in the building, and whether the building has a fire sprinkler system. If Part I changes significantly, owners must post the revised Part I of the plan within 60 days of that change.
Specifications. Owners must post a copy of Part I in the same manner as they post the fire safety notice. The sign must be in the same form as the fire safety notice.
Part I must be at least 5.5 by 8.5 inches in size, but cannot exceed 8.5 by 11 inches in size, excluding any frame that you use. It must be printed in English. Other languages also can be used to help occupants understand the building information. Part I must also be printed so that all the text is clearly legible, in contrasting colors for the lettering and background, and in a type size no smaller than 10 point Times New Roman or its equivalent.
Part I must be either on a single-sided sheet of paper framed under a clear Plexiglas cover or laminated with a firm backing and placed on the wall using either mounting hardware or an adhesive or printed on a matte-finish vinyl adhesive-back decal not less than 3 mm thick, using thermal printing, screenprinting, or some other permanent water-resistant printing technique.
Location. You must post the sign in a conspicuous location near any common mailbox area. If there is no common mailbox area, post it near the elevators or main stairwell. Also, Part I itself, not counting any frame, must be placed no lower than four feet and no higher than 5.5 feet from the floor.
Penalty. Failure to post Part I of the fire safety plan can result in fines up to $5,000 for each violation. If the owner knows he is violating or failing to follow the Fire Department rules, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor. The owner may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both, for each offense, and may have to pay a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
Governing law. 3 RCNY §43-01.
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