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1 RCNY §102-4 Civil Penalties for Work Without a Permit and Violation of Stop Work Orders

Updated: Oct 20, 2023



Adhering to construction permit requirements is crucial to ensure that construction work is carried out safely and in compliance with local building codes. However, in many cases, individuals and businesses may perform work without the necessary permits or violate stop work orders, leading to legal consequences. This blog will explore the Rules of the City of New York § 102-04, which outlines civil penalties for work without a permit and for violations of stop work orders.


Section 102-04: Understanding Civil Penalties


(a) Payment of Civil Penalty for Work Without a Permit or Violation of Stop Work Orders


Section 102-04 starts by explaining when payment of a civil penalty is required for work without a permit or violations of stop work orders. The code stipulates that payment of the civil penalty is necessary under various circumstances, including:


1. Issuance of a permit for work in a space where work was performed without a permit, and the penalty for such unpermitted work has not been paid.


2. Renewal of a permit for work performed after the expiration of a permit when the penalty for unpermitted work has not been paid.


3. Acceptance of a certificate of correction for a violation issued for work without a permit, even if the removal of such work occurred or is required and does not require a permit.


4. Rescission of a stop work order.


(b) Assessment of Civil Penalty for Work Without a Permit


This subsection delves into the assessment of civil penalties for work performed without a permit. The penalties are determined based on the occupancy status, with specific guidelines for different types of buildings, such as one-family or two-family dwellings and buildings other than those.


The code specifies that penalties can range from a multiple of the permit fee to a maximum limit, with variations depending on the nature of the unpermitted work and the property type.


The key points covered in this subsection are as follows:


1. Basis for Assessment: The civil penalty for unpermitted work is determined based on the occupancy status as indicated on the Certificate of Occupancy or other records maintained by the Department.


2. Penalty for One-Family or Two-Family Dwellings: For work performed without a permit in one-family or two-family dwellings (including residential condominiums or cooperative units), the penalty is calculated as the greater of six times the current permit fee or $10,000, with a minimum penalty of $600. If only a portion of the work was performed without a permit, the penalty is reduced proportionately based on the remaining work, but it will not fall below $600 or exceed $10,000.


3. Penalty for Buildings Other Than One-Family or Two-Family Dwellings: For work performed without a permit in buildings other than one-family or two-family dwellings (including common areas of condominiums or cooperative buildings), the penalty is calculated as the greater of twenty-one times the current permit fee or $15,000, with a minimum penalty of $6,000. Similar to the previous point, if only part of the work lacks a permit, the penalty is adjusted proportionately, with a minimum of $6,000 and a maximum of $15,000.


4. Expired Permits or After-Hours Work: If work is performed after the expiration of a permit or outside of permitted hours without an after-hours variance, the penalty is set at $600 for one-family or two-family dwellings and $6,000 for buildings other than one-family or two-family dwellings.


5. Penalty for Removing Illegal Work: In cases where unpermitted work is removed, a penalty of $600 applies for one-family or two-family dwellings and $6,000 for buildings other than one-family or two-family dwellings, even if the removal did not necessitate a permit.


6. Fee-Exempt Properties: When unpermitted work is carried out on properties exempt from permit fees according to § 28-112.1 of the Administrative Code, the penalty is $600 for one-family or two-family dwellings and $6,000 for buildings other than one-family or two-family dwellings.


7. Legalization of Completed Work: If unpermitted work has been performed and an applicant seeks a permit for that work before receiving a notice of violation, the penalty is $600 for one-family or two-family dwellings and $6,000 for buildings other than one-family or two-family dwellings.


8. Subsequent Violations within One Year: According to § 28-213.6 of the Administrative Code, if a penalty is imposed for work without a permit on a building or a part of a building within one year, subsequent violations related to unpermitted work on the same building or part thereof result in a penalty that is twice the amount that would typically apply, provided it does not exceed the maximum allowable penalty.


(c) Override of Civil Penalty for Work Without a Permit


In cases where an applicant has an outstanding violation for unpermitted work but seeks a permit for work unrelated to the violation, the Department may issue a permit for the unrelated work. This permit does not affect the outstanding violation or any civil penalties assessed for unpermitted work.


(d) Waiver of Civil Penalty for Work Without a Permit


This subsection explains instances in which the Department may waive a civil penalty for work without a permit. It includes scenarios like subsequent bona fide purchasers, violations being dismissed, emergency work performed, or expired permits with no subsequent work.


(e) Waiver of Civil Penalty for Failure to Comply with a Stop Work Order


Here, the code outlines situations in which the Department may waive civil penalties for failure to comply with a stop work order. These include cases where the Commissioner determines that the order has not been violated or when a violation for such non-compliance is dismissed.


(f) Request for Override, Reduction, or Waiver of a Civil Penalty


Section 102-04 provides detailed procedures for submitting requests for the override, reduction, or waiver of civil penalties. It outlines the necessary documentation, the burden of proof on the applicant, and the appeals process, which involves the Borough Commissioner or their designee.


(g) Refunds


Lastly, this section explains that if a civil penalty for unpermitted work is paid, and the underlying violation is subsequently dismissed, the applicant may be eligible for a refund upon submitting proof of dismissal and payment.

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