Stressed about the annual Alternative Enforcement Program? Let us help! We’ll walk you through the details of the program and review all you need to know in order to keep your properties on the right side of the law.
What is the Alternative Enforcement Program?
Each year, on or around January 31st, 200–250 multiple-dwelling properties throughout the five boroughs are selected to be in the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). Criteria for selection in the program includes the number of open Class B and C violations as well as the dollar value of emergency repair charges sustained as a result of the work performed by the HPD. Owners of properties included in the program will be given instructions for correcting the qualifying violations.
Are all qualifying violations for the AEP acute?
In 2016, several amendments were made to the AEP. The program can now include buildings that are experiencing a gradual but steady decline in condition over a prolonged period of time. This means that a building that does not have any major Class B or Class C violations, but is in a state of overall neglect and disrepair, might also find itself included in the AEP.
How are building owners informed of their property’s inclusion in the AEP?
Wondering if your property is on the dreaded list? There’s no need for guessing games; there are three ways to find out whether your building is on the list:
1. All owners of properties included in the AEP are informed with the issuance of a Class I HPD violation.
2. A notice informing the building owner and tenants about the inclusion of their property in the AEP is posted in the building.
3. All properties included in the AEP are listed online at the AEP page on the nyc.gov website. You can access this year’s list and past year’s lists here.
What happens if a building owner fails to correct their building’s qualifying violations and charges?
Failure to correct the qualifying violations and charges within the first 4 months after the program inclusion can result in additional ERP charges, liens, fines, and hefty fees.
Here’s how things can go from bad to worse:
• After 4 months have passed without correction, the HPD will issue an AEP Order to Correct that lists the conditions that need to be fixed. The Order to Correct will be mailed to the owner, posted in the building, and filed with the County Clerk.
• If the owner fails to comply with the Order to Correct, the HPD may hire a contractor to fix the violations at the owner’s expense.
• If the owner fails to pay the contractor’s bill, a tax lien may be placed against the property.
If the threat of a tax lien isn’t enough to scare the building owner into compliance, there are also steep fees to cover. Buildings in the AEP that have failed to make the necessary corrections within 4 months are subject to the following fees:
• $500 per dwelling unit every six months, with a maximum total of $1,000 per dwelling unit during participation in the AEP.
• $200 for any complaint inspection performed in the property that results in the issuance of a Class B or C violation.
• $100 for each re-inspection pursuant to a Certification of Correction of violation(s) submitted to HPD where HPD finds that one or more of the violations have not been corrected.
Failure to pay these fees can also result in a tax lien or liens against the property.
How can I keep my building out of the AEP?
Don’t get caught in the AEP trap! Take precautionary measures now to keep your property out of the program. Here’s how:
• Make sure your building is fully up to code. Be sure to keep yourself informed about any amendments and updates to the NYC compliance code.
• Fix all maintenance and safety issues promptly.
• Remember to register your property with the HPD and to update your registration as necessary.
• Clear all HPD violations as soon as possible. Remember to request an inspection after a repair is made or to submit a Certificate of Corrections when necessary.
Don’t get stuck in a noncompliance nightmare! Avoid the AEP trap call, click, or stop by Jack Jaffa & Associates to have them order the violation dismissal inspection and reduce the violation count.