New York City Launches No-Penalty Sign Inspections


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

NEW YORK—The de Blasio Administration 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 on 07/31/2020.

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.

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.