A 'FAIRER' Way to Pay ECB Fines
Under the Department of Finance’s new Environmental Control Board (ECB) amnesty program, if you have unpaid eligible ECB judgments issued by various city agencies and adjudicated by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), you may be able to save up to 75 percent and have the penalties and interest associated with your judgments waived. These types of amnesty programs are offered by the city only once every few years. This program is a great opportunity to clear out old violations and reduce outstanding fines you may have.
This latest amnesty program is called FAIRER, Fines and Interest Reduction Enabling Recovery, and it’s a three-month program authorized by Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council and administered by the Department of Finance (DOF). We’ll cover the eligible violations, how to participate, and program deadlines.
The following types of judgments may be eligible for the FAIRER Program:
Judgments resulting from a default decision and order. These judgments contain a default penalty for not attending a hearing. For these eligible judgments, respondents or payors will pay only the base penalties. They won’t have to pay default penalties or accrued interest.
Pre-pandemic judgments (judgments adjudicated and entered before March 7, 2020). For these eligible judgments, respondents or payors will pay 75 percent of the imposed penalties and won’t have to pay accrued interest.
Pandemic judgments (judgments adjudicated and entered on or after March 7, 2020, and before June 23, 2021). For these eligible judgments, respondents or payors will pay 25 percent of the imposed penalties and won’t have to pay accrued interest.
Although many OATH/ECB-related fines are eligible for this program, it’s important to note that there are some related penalties and fees that aren’t eligible, for example: civil penalties issued by the DOB such as elevator inspection and boiler inspection penalties; criminal/civil court judgments; HPD emergency repair charges; water bills; Department of Health and Mental Hygiene judgments; property taxes; and judgments that have been referred to a City Marshal or Sheriff for enforcement.
How to Participate
To participate in the FAIRER Program, visit www.nyc.gov/mysummons. Enter your name and address, ticket number, or OATH ID. (If you are a respondent and have received correspondence from the Department of Finance, your OATH ID will appear on the correspondence.)
Your outstanding OATH-adjudicated ECB judgments will be listed, along with whether each judgment is eligible for the FAIRER Program. You can select your eligible judgment(s), agree to the FAIRER Program terms and conditions, and pay the selected judgments in full.
When searching for your judgments, be sure to search under all of the names and addresses that might be associated with them. For example, if you have multiple properties, search for each address. If you or your business go by more than one name, search every name. If your violation isn’t eligible for the FAIRER Program, it may be eligible for the OATH-Adjudicated ECB Violations Settlement Program, which is for default judgments entered on or after June 23, 2021. This information will be displayed when you search for your judgments.
By choosing to participate in the program and agreeing to resolve an outstanding judgment, you’re admitting liability for the judgments. According to the DOF, you agree to waive all of the following under the FAIRER Program:
- Any right to challenge any of the judgments that are paid for under this agreement in any forum, including the right to seek to vacate the default judgments;
- Any right to challenge any of the judgments that are paid for under this agreement including:
- The right to seek to vacate any of the default judgments;
- The right to challenge or contest any such judgment in any administrative or court proceeding;
- The right to challenge or otherwise contest the amounts due;
- Any defenses in connection with such judgments, including any claims or defenses relating to failure to receive notice of such violations and judgments;
- Any claims that such judgments have expired or are otherwise non-enforceable due to the expiration of a statute of limitations for such judgments;
- The right to contest in any forum those judgments paid under this agreement that are currently due and payable; and
- The right to any other legal or factual setoff or defense.
The FAIRER Program began on Sept. 20, 2021, and continues through Dec. 20, 2021. To participate, you must pay your violations in full by Dec. 20, 2021. Judgments paid after this date won’t be eligible for the FAIRER Program.