Don't Place Locking Devices on Fire Passageways
The Department of Buildings (DOB) takes tenant safety seriously. And any types of obstructions or locks on fire exits and passageways are grounds for a Class 1 immediately hazardous violation. In one recent case, the DOB issued such a violation after inspectors found that a fire passageway beneath the building was obstructed by a scissor gate secured with a padlock and chain.
The owner claimed that the padlock didn't actually work and was only there to trick neighborhood drug traffickers into thinking the gate was locked. He testified that his tenants knew the gate could be opened without a padlock key.
But this wasn't a valid defense. The lock on the wooden gate was impermissible, even though it was unlocked, because it appeared to be locked and require special knowledge or effort to open. And although gates are permitted, they must be capable of being opened with one action, which this gate wasn't [Sokoloweicz: ECB App. No. 1101132 (2/16/12)].