If you have received a Warning Letter describing a landmark violation at your property, you should submit an application to LPC to address the condition. Usually Warning Letters are sent out because work was performed either without an LPC permit or in noncompliance with an LPC permit. Do not ignore this letter, even if the violation predates your ownership or control of the property. If the Warning Letter is ignored, fines may be imposed. If you have questions or are uncertain what to do, contact the Enforcement Department. Commission staff can answer questions and help with the process of addressing violations. Keep in mind that the main goal of enforcement of the Landmarks Law is to have violations corrected and to protect our landmarks. Consequently, under most circumstances there are two grace periods for owners to correct violations without any financial penalty.
Most recipients of Warning Letters have a 20 business day grace period to file an application with the LPC to address the violation without a penalty. If the Commission does not receive an application to legalize or correct the unauthorized work or condition before the 20 business day grace period expires, a Notice of Violation (NOV) may be issued. The NOV is a summons to appear before an administrative law judge at the Environmental Control Board. If you do not appear at the hearing or are found guilty, the judge can impose fines up to $5,000.
It is often useful to initially contact the LPC enforcement staff to discuss how you plan to address the violation. Some violations can be corrected by removing the item cited – for instance, if a sign is installed without a permit, removal of the sign corrects the violation. Other violations may be candidates for legalization – effectively obtaining LPC approval after the work is done. Many violations, however, require some sort of modification or even removal after issuance of an LPC permit. That is one reason why it is so important to promptly file an application and to be in contact with the LPC enforcement staff.
Once you receive an LPC permit to address the violation, be sure to comply with the permit requirements. If you addressed the violation through corrective work authorized by a permit, you will need to request a Notice of Compliance which is a letter from the LPC stating that the corrective work was correctly completed, to have the violation corrected.
LPC violations are issued to a specific owner/respondent and remain active against a property until corrected. No Department of Buildings (DOB) permits will be issued for the property unless the DOB permit is for correcting an unsafe condition.
Warning Letters and NOVs are posted to Department of Buildings Building Information System (BIS) and also appear in violation title searches. Consequently, an uncorrected violation can cause problems for an owner refinancing or selling a property.
The two most important things to remember are: Don't ignore a Warning Letter or Notice of Violation, and contact the LPC enforcement staff if you have any questions - we're to help.