Amnesty. The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has announced an amnesty program, so that non-compliant owners can administratively close their Cycle 7 filing requirement by filing a Cycle 8 report between May 1 and June 30. Only building owners who didn't file a Cycle 7 FISP report are eligible to participate in this one-time amnesty program. And, according to the DOB, it will not be offered for future FISP cycles.
Non-compliant owners must file their Cycle 8 FISP reports between May 1 and June 30, regardless of their official 8th cycle filing period, which is based on the last digit of their block number. The standard filing fee of $265 is required with the submission of the report, but there is no filing fee for the administrative closure of Cycle 7.
All late fees, civil penalties, and Environmental Control Board fines accrued for failing to file during previous cycles must be paid before or at the time of the Cycle 8 filing.
Who does the inspection? A qualified architect or engineer must do the inspection to check for structural soundness and submit the supplemental statement to the city — confirming whether the status of these exterior structures is Safe, Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program, or Unsafe. All balconies, terraces, handrails, canopies, antennae, satellite dishes, air conditioners, and fire escapes must be inspected.
Why is it important? The DOB created and implemented the law in 1980 — then called Local Law 10 — in response to the 1979 death of Barnard College student Grace Gold when she was struck by masonry falling from a building façade in Manhattan. More recently, on August 1, 2013, Jennifer Rosoff fell to her death from her 17th-floor condominium at 400 East 57th Street after the 78-year-old aluminum railing on her balcony gave way. The railing was installed in 1931 without welded rivets, and the non-welded rivets popped out.
It takes a village. Boards should routinely remind tenants to pay attention to the condition of all guardrails on their respective balconies, and urge them to promptly report any outwardly unsafe conditions to the building superintendent for immediate repair.
According to RAND Engineering & Architecture, a firm that evaluates building systems and provides design and specification for repair, upgrade, and restoration of residential, commercial, and institutional properties, a building cannot skip an inspection cycle, no matter how much time has passed since the deadline. If an inspection report has not been filed for a previous cycle, the DOB will issue a "No Report Filed" violation. Once the report has been filed, the DOB may then retroactively issue a base penalty of up to a $1,000 for filing late, plus up to $250 per month pass the deadline.
Photo by Victoria Lipov for Shutterstock
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