Friday, July 31, 2020


City restarts annual no-penalty deck, porch and retaining wall inspections

  The de Blasio Administration today announced the start of a new No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program and the return of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection Programs. These initiatives allow small business owners and homeowners to obtain free inspections of the relevant structures, without risk of penalty, to determine if they comply with City safety regulations. Rather than penalize small businesses and homeowners, these initiatives will help New Yorkers comply with the regulations and proactively maintain their properties, saving them time and money by fixing potential problems before they occur.
“Our small businesses are the core of our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That is why we want to work with them to help them keep their businesses safe, and instead of just giving them a fine or violation.”
"We want to ensure all New Yorkers' homes and businesses are safe, and that is why we are re-launching these no-penalty inspections," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "With everything our City has gone through these last several months, we want to make sure we are helping as much as possible rather than penalizing. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this great program."
“Making sure your home and property are in good shape is essential to keeping your loved ones and neighbors safe,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. "Putting off needed home repairs or keeping up a sign that is out of compliance might seem harmless in the short run, but it could end up costing a lot more than you bargained for. We're pleased to offer these programs to help small businesses and property owners comply with the regulations that keep us all safe."
No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program
Beginning July 31st until September 15th, 2020, the Department of Buildings will start accepting business accessory sign inspection requests from small business owners. For the first time, DOB is offering to inspect business signage at no cost and without penalty. During the inspection, DOB's team will come out and verify that business accessory signs comply with City regulations and are safely installed. Small business owners can take advantage of these no penalty inspections and avoid issues later by bringing their signs up to code if any deficiencies are found. Those interested in the No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program can contact 311 to set up an appointment.
As part of a moratorium from February 9, 2019 until February 9, 2021, the Department will not issue violations for business signs that existed on or before February 9, 2019, unless the sign is not eligible for the moratorium for reasons such as being an imminent threat to public health or safety. Businesses are encouraged to contact 311 to have their signs inspected to determine whether they comply with applicable regulations before the end of this moratorium to potentially avoid receiving future violations for signs that are not in compliance. DOB will continue to respond to 311 complaints about signs to determine whether a business’ sign is compliant or eligible for this moratorium. Visit our site for more on the Business Accessory Sign Moratorium 
No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection Programs
Beginning July 31st, and also ending September 15th, homeowners and property owners can also contact 311 to request a free DOB inspection of their decks, porches, or retaining walls as part of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall inspection initiatives. By law, homeowners must properly maintain any deck, porch, or retaining wall on their property, and ensure that these structures comply with City regulations. Over time, weather and shifting soil can cause these household structures to deteriorate, and periodic maintenance of these structures is critical to preventing accidents. During the scheduled inspection, a Buildings inspector will look for potential dangers, such as cracking, rotting, bulging, leaning, and conditions that could lead to structural failure. 
The Department first launched the No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program in 2005 and later added the No-Penalty Deck and Porch Inspection Program in 2010. Since the start of these initiatives, the City has dealt with over 1100 properties across the five boroughs, helping to prevent structural failures and saving money for homeowners. New Yorkers concerned about the safety and stability of any of these structures in their neighborhood are also urged to contact 311 to report any unsafe conditions.
“SBS is committed to helping our small businesses get back on their feet. The Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program not only saves business owners time by providing them with the education to remain in compliance with City rules leading up to the moratorium, but it also saves them money by helping them avoid costly fines which may have resulted from non-compliance.  We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Department of Buildings on launching an initiative that puts small businesses first,” said Jonnel DorisCommissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services

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