How to Request Additional Time to Correct HPD Violations
When you get a violation notice from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), it will specify a deadline for correcting the violation. HPD issues violations to owners of buildings that don’t meet the standards of the city’s Housing Maintenance Code and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. Buildings with significant numbers of unresolved violations may be subject to HPD-initiated litigation, eligible for the alternative enforcement program, or publicly posted on the proactive preservation initiative’s at-risk building list. These enforcement measures may lead to liens or judgments against the building.
You may at one point receive a violation notice with a deadline. But what if you can’t correct the violation by that deadline? For example, you may have trouble getting access to a tenant’s apartment to make the required repairs, or the contractor you hire to make repairs can’t complete them by the required deadline. Fortunately, HPD can give you extra time to correct the violation in certain situations. But you must follow HPD’s procedure for requesting extra time. If you make mistakes, you could end up without the extra time and with a violation that’s tough to remove from your building’s records.
We’ll tell you what you must do to get extra time to correct an HPD violation. Note that the procedures we’ll describe don’t apply to requests for extra time to correct lead-based paint violations. For postponement requests related to lead-based paint hazard violations, HPD requires owners to fill out Form L-01 completely and attach appropriate documents.
Why Get Extra Time?
To remove an HPD violation from your building’s records, you must correct the condition and certify its correction to HPD within the time specified for that type of violation. That deadline will appear on your violation notice. The time frame depends on the class of violation.
Owners can certify correction of violation in several ways as long as owners are current with their property registration. Owners can use the eCertification online tool or send a “Certification of Correction of Violation” form by mail.
If you certify the violation on time, and an HPD inspector doesn’t show up to reinspect the violation within 70 days, the violation is “deemed corrected” and should be removed from your building’s records. If you certify the violation on time, and an HPD inspector does show up within 70 days and finds that the violation has been corrected, the violation will be removed from your building’s records shortly after the inspection.
If you don’t certify the violation on time, it will remain on your building’s records. And getting a violation removed can be difficult. But if you request extra time to correct the violation and certify that it was corrected, you can get it removed from your building’s records.
It’s important to note that it’s a bad idea to certify that you’ve corrected a violation on time if you haven’t actually completed the work yet—even if you think you’ll have finished within a short time after the deadline. HPD could sue you for false certification, and penalties can be imposed by the housing court for false certification. In addition, willingly filing a false statement is also a misdemeanor, and you could be imprisoned for up to a year.
Three Categories of Violations
The amount of time you have to correct the violation depends on how it’s categorized under the city’s Administrative Code. The violation notice will inform you of the correction deadline. By law, HPD calculates that you will receive the Notice of Violation (NOV) five days from mailing for Class C violations, and 14 days from mailing for Class A and Class B violations. Here’s how much time you’ll have to correct the three categories of violations.
Class A—nonhazardous (for example, failure to post a notice about smoke detector requirements or failure to paint). You must correct these violations within 90 days of the date HPD mails the violation notice to you.
Class B—hazardous (for example, failure to install carbon monoxide detectors). You must correct these violations within 30 days of the date HPD mails the violation notice to you.
Class C—immediately hazardous (for example, inadequate heat and hot water). Most Class C violations have a correction period of 24 hours. Lead-based paint, window guard, heat and hot water are exceptions, so check your NOV for these correction deadlines.
How to Request Extra Time
To request extra time, send a letter to HPD’s Postponement Unit, Division of Code Enforcement, 100 Gold St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10038. To be sure HPD gets your request, send your letter by certified mail, return-receipt requested. HPD says it will accept requests sent by mail only.
For Class A and Class B violations, you must make sure HPD gets the letter before the deadline specified for correcting the particular type of violation cited. Send the letter as soon as possible.
Your letter should include your building address and describe the prompt action you took to correct the violation and the reason you can’t correct it by the deadline. Though there’s no one explanation that’s sure to get you extra time, here are some valid reasons HPD will consider:
Technical difficulties. For example, your architect is working on plans to make the repair correctly and needs more time. Or your workers are having difficulty making repairs because of extreme weather. Specifically, severe heat, cold, snow, or rain holds up fire escape or roof repairs or external painting.
Difficulty getting access. You can’t get into an apartment to make the repair before the deadline because the tenant won’t let you in by that date. If the tenant flat out refuses to give you access, HPD won’t give you more time. Instead, you may be able to get access by starting a court case against the tenant, seeking his eviction unless he gives you access to correct the violation within a set period of time. Or if the condition you’re trying to correct affects other units (for example, it involves an ongoing leak), speak to your attorney about seeking the tenant’s eviction based on nuisance and failure to give access.
Inability to get necessary materials, funds, or labor. For example, you must order a special part or tool from the manufacturer, or you simply have too many repairs to make in a short period, and your workers can’t get to them all in time.
Include Key Documents with Letter
You must include the following key documents with your letter.
- A clear copy of the violation notice. Don’t submit the original notice.
- Proof of your reason. Attach written proof to support your reason for needing more time. For example, here’s what you could submit for the three reasons listed above:
> Technical difficulties. Submit a letter from your architect, supplier, or contractor stating that additional time is needed to correct the violation in question.
> Difficulty getting access. Submit a copy of your certified letter to the tenant, requesting access. Or submit a notarized statement from your super or contractor indicating that the tenant has asked to delay giving you access for the repairs.
> Inability to get necessary materials, funds, or labor. Submit a letter from the worker or contractor who will be doing the work, explaining why it can’t complete the repairs by the deadline. If you must order a special tool from the manufacturer, submit a copy of your order requesting the part, along with a copy of a letter from the manufacturer estimating when you’ll get the needed part.
What HPD Will Do
When HPD gets your letter, it will process your request and mail you a response, either approving or denying your request. If HPD approves your request, it will set a new deadline for correcting the violation and include another violation notice with its letter. The amount of extra time HPD will give you depends on the category of violation:
- Class A—60 days.
- Class B—30 days.
- Class C—Postponements are not granted for Class C non-lead-based paint violations. Lead-based paint violations may initially be postponed for 14 days.
You’ll be expected to certify correction of the violation by the date specified in the new violation notice. HPD won’t grant any further extensions.