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Check for Violations Before Buying a Landmark

14 Commerce Street in the Greenwich Village Historic District. Google Street View.

In continuation of our Landmarking 101 series, today we’re focusing on active violations on a landmarked property and just who is responsible for them. Whether you’re a broker or a prospective buyer, this is particularly important information to know! If you buy a property with unresolved violations, you become financially responsible for correcting them. That’s a tough (and sometimes pricey) pill to swallow.

By checking to see if violations do exist, you can bring these issues up with the seller before buying a property. In some cases, the violation may have happened even before the seller owned the property. Violations aren’t exclusive to landmarked properties, by the way. Just one look through the Department of Buildings (DOB) website and you’ll find a multitude of violations out there. Today, however, we’ll focus on those for landmarks.


On DOB’s site, go to the property’s page by filling in the address on the home screen at www.nyc.gov/buildings (see the screenshot in this past post).

Our example today is 14 Commerce Street, at the corner of Seventh Avenue South, which has received its fair share of complaints from neighbors because of the illegal wall and signage (AKA installed without permits). On the page for this address (above), the blue arrow points to the Violations link. Click on that to be taken to…


…the DOB Violations page.

The last one is the most current Landmarks violation available for this property, although all but one of them dating back to 1985 (!) are still considered active. If you click on these, they don’t indicate exactly what the violation is, but at least you’ll know that they do need to be addressed.

You can find out more about the violation by contacting the LPC directly. While you’re at it, you might also want to check with the LPC if any other violations exist that may have not made it to DOB’s page yet. You definitely don’t want to inherit violations, whether they’re from last year or thirty (or more) years ago!

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