If a Warning Letter has been issued for a landmark violation at your property, you should submit an application to LPC to address the condition. Usually Warning Letters are issued 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. 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 fines.
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 Summons, previously called a Notice of Violation (NOV), may be issued. The Summons/NOV requires an appearance before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). If you do not appear at the hearing or are found guilty, the judge can impose fines up to $5,000.
It is helpful 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 contact 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. Department of Buildings (DOB) permits may be held up if there is ana ctive landmark violation on the property.
Warning Letters and Summons/NOVs are available via a Records Access Request. They are also posted to DOB's Building Information System (BIS) and 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 Summons/Notice of Violation, and contact the LPC enforcement staff if you have any questions - we're here to help.