Buying a Building with Building Violations NYC

Purchasing A Building With Violations NYC

(Last Updated On: January 3, 2020)

If you are purchasing a building with violations in New York City you must resolve and clear all violations. NYC building violations are serious business and need to be taken care of. You will not be held liable for penalties due on the building (if you recently purchased it) provided you file the proper documentation and qualify for a waiver of the penalties.


Purchasing a Building With Violations 

We have had clients who buy a new building with DOB Violations and ECB Violations. It is okay to purchase a building with violations but you need to know your responsibilities and rights. You must fix all the violations. these violations may or may not have fines due on them. If they do have penalties due on the violations you may qualify for a waiver.

you can look up a buildings violations on the DOB BIS. This is the DOB online building information system.

NYC Building Violations

There are ECB violations and DOB violations.

DOB – Department Of Buildings

ECB – Environmental Control Board


Waiver Of Violation Fines For A New Owner

New owners are not responsible to pay fines on a building if such fine was issued before the owned the building. If you purchase a building with violations and money is due on penalties you need to apply for a waiver. You can file a DOB L2 form in order to request a waiver of penalties. The violations will remain on the building but there will be no money due as penalties for the violation.

We had a client who purchased a building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan with over $40,000 due in penalties. We were able to get these fines waived. We then proceeded with renovating the building and clearing up the violations.

Waiver Requirements For New Owner – Bona Fide Purchaser

  • You will need to file an L2 form application with the local DOB Borough office. This application will list the violations you wish to have fees waived on. You will file as a BFP or Bona Fide Purchaser. This means you purchased the building with violations existing on the building at time of sale. You are requesting a waiver of penalties as they were not issued to you.
  • Attach a copy of the Deed with your application.
  • Submit a notarized affidavit explaining the nature of your claim stating you have no relationship to the owner. this affidavit should include:
    • Name of Owner
    • Location Of Property
    • Statement verifying the property was not a gift
    • Statement that the prior owner and new owner have no relationship or interest in the property
    • Statement that the new owner is not acting on behalf of the previous owner
  • Affidavit must be signed by new owner and notarized. you do not need any signatures from the previous owner.

If you intend to pull DOB building permits for work on the building this application must be approved before DOB will issue a permit.


Clearing Violations After Purchasing a Building

If your L2 form is approved the penalty fees will be waived but the violations will remain. you are now responsible for resolving the violations and getting them cleared by the department of buildings. In many cases you may need permits in order to perform work to clear the violations. The application fees for the permits will not be waived you will pay all standard fees unless you qualify for fee exempt.

You may need an architect and contractor to fix the violations depending on what they are for.


Contact Fontan Architecture


Thank you For Reading Our Post On Purchasing A Building With Violations.

We hope this was helpful. Please feel free to post questions or comments below. If you want to speak with a New York Architect about your property you can contact Fontan Architecture directly. We would be happy to see if we can help you with your property.



  • ramon calleja

    September 26, 2018 3:25 pm

    Now what happens when you purchase a building with violations that you recently did a full demolition on?

  • meso Dumas

    July 23, 2019 7:41 am

    We purchased a home – it was stated by the seller that work was done to code, but without permits… Which to me means it was not done to code. We also did some work that was not permitted after moving in. We now have a stop work order. Do you handle this situation (rectifying the matter and filing proper to finish work)?

    One question; does the new work that was done, will all of that have to be scraped – even if it was done well – or can some official body come and inspect to make sure it was done to code and then we close the walls etc – or at least perhaps modify what was done to meet code requirements. Thank you Oliver

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