To Our Clients

Good health is our most cherished possession. Everything else is of secondary importance. To maintain good health, particularly in this most difficult time, we must work together to first lessen the spread and then eliminate this terrible virus.

In the interim, we want to assure you that we will continue to represent each and every client with the vigor and thoughtful approach that you have come to expect of us. As always, our staff of accomplished professionals will continue its commitment to fully protect your interests and achieve the best results possible for you. We are working remotely, but each member of our team has access to your case files. You can reach us at our usual office telephone numbers and email addresses, and we can videoconference with you via Zoom or other platforms.

COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges. Work and commerce in New York State are limited to “essential businesses or entities,” or to “vendors that provide essential services or products.” Construction in New York City continues as “essential” – for the time being. The courts are almost completely shut down, but may be open for “emergency” applications. Persons with business with government agencies are, for example, urged to “limit” in-person appearances (DOB guidance 3/24/20) or to participate in hearings via Zoom teleconference only (BSA guidance 3/24/20). Orders by the Governor or other officials may affect the operation of leases, mortgages and contracts. Force-majeure clauses may (or may not) be used to avoid liability for COVID-19-related shutdowns. Government programs may (or may not) be available to help business and individuals cope with the loss of income. The landscape shifts daily, even hourly. We may be able to help. Please contact us.

Above all, please stay safe.

Best,

Stuart A. Klein and Christopher M. Slowik

The information below is presented as a helpful resource. Links to government resources and the summaries provided with them are not legal advice. Guidance is changing by the hour. Please consult with the authority in question or with an attorney before making any decision that may affect your rights.

UPDATED 4/6/20 5:00PM

Service Notice (3/30)

Suspension of all “non-essential” construction and demolition. DOB inspectors will be out in the field. $10,000 fine for violations. Requests for permission to perform “essential” work must be submitted via DOB NOW. See notice for details.

Buildings Bulletin 2020-004 (3/30)

Direction re: securing construction sites and demolition sites where operations are suspended due to COVID-19 emergency.

Guidance re: “essential” vs. “non-essential” construction (3/30)

Guidance from DOB to further interpret what work is considered “essential”

FAQ’s re: “Essential” vs “Non-Essential” Construction (4/2)

Answers to questions re: specific work types including local law compliance tests, elevators, facades, plumbing, electric, mechanical, fire suppression, boilers; protocol for obtaining “essential” designation; violations for non-compliance; etc.

UPDATE 3/27/20

All non-essential construction must shut down except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site).

Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

For purposes of this section construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.

Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE Order

100% of non-essential employees must stay home; non-essential gatherings of any size banned; 6-foot distance mandated; etc. (Gov. Cuomo 3/20).

See the list of what constitutes an “essential” business or service.

Of interest to our clients: “essential businesses” include:

“Construction, including skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers” and “other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes.”

“hardware and building material stores”

“building code enforcement”

Governor’s Order re: Acceptability of Remote Notarization

Relaxes the requirement that the notary public be physically present when the document to be notarized is signed. Gives guidance for notarization by videoconference. (Gov. CuOmo 3/17). NOTE: Other guidance in this order re: restrictions on commerce, etc. have since been superseded by other orders). Follow this link to New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers’ instructions for e-notarization.

All Executive Orders

Link to repository of Governor Cuomo’s executive orders, including but not limited to all of his recent orders concerning COVID-19 response.

NYC DEP’T OF BUILDINGS (DOB)

Service Notice 4/6

Certificates of correction and TCO payments must be submitted online. See link for details.

Service Notice 4/2

Guidance provided for electronic submission of “essential construction” requests for Electrical and LAA permits; for PAA payments; and for reinstatement requests.

Service Notice 4/1

Civil penalty review requests (Form L2) and PAA payments must be submitted electronically.

Service Notice 3/31

Litigation papers, subpoenas, and FOIL requests to DOB must be submitted via email, not in person; see details.

Service Notice 3/31

Public hearings postponed on proposed DOB rules for amendment of fees for façade filings and for crane peer review.

Service Notice 3/31

Launch of crane filings in DOB NOW: Build postponed.

COVID-19 Service Change Summary 3/25

Summarizes and updates all current DOB guidance:Fee Estimation, Licensing (new license/plate/seal pickup only) Payments (Express Cashier in the borough offices and Central Cashier at 280 Broadway), Plan Pick Up, and Records are the only in-person services currently being offered. Other types of documents can either be filed electronically or at drop-off boxes at each DOB office; check notice for details.

Buildings News 3/24

Cranes and Derricks, eFiling Authentication, Limited Alteration Applications, Local Law Enforcement and Permit Renewals

Service Notice 3/24

Appointments for Standard Plan Review BIS Job Filings

Service Notice 3/20

Enforcement

Service Notice 3/20

Full Demolition; Site Safety Plans

Service Notice 3/18

Administrative Enforcement (AEU) and Licensing Units Updates

Service Notice 3/18

Application Processing Updates

OTHER NYC AGENCIES

OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE TRIALS AND HEARINGS (OATH)

OATH Hearings Division (formerly known as Environmental Control Board)

Hearing centers in the five boroughs physically closed through 3/30; hearings can be held via One-Click function on OATH’s website or via phone; all in-person hearings can be rescheduled.

OATH Trials Division

100 Church Street office closed until 4/20 but hearings and conferences can be conducted via videoconference; but see other guidance on OATH’s Website that Krimstock vehicle forfeiture hearings, TLC Summary Suspensions, and TLC Drugs cases are still being heard

Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)

BSA offices closed; 3/24 and 3/25 hearings being held by videoconference, with limitations. (3/24)

Department of City Planning (DCP)

Staffers working remotely; central office and borough offices closed; applications accepted by overnight delivery with notice by email; in-person filing by appointment only (see website for details); ULURP supended. (3/24)

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Regularly updated list of DEP directives, including extension of asbestos certificate hard card expiry dates until June 1, andspecial instructions for issuance of water and sewer permits (no non-emergency paper permits or walk-ins; applications by mail or email as noted).

Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

Offices physically closed; only emergency inspections conducted; appointments related to evictions not being held until courts reopen; etc.

Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

1 Centre St. offices closed; staff working remotely; hearings cancelled through end of March; materials being accepted by email. (3/19)

All NYC Agencies

Summaries of all NYC agency COVID-19 policies

COURTS

New York State Courts: All Deadlines Tolled

Statutes of limitations and all other court deadlines tolled, for all courts until April 19. (Gov. Cuomo 3/20)

New York State Courts: “Essential Business” Only

Open for “essential business” only, including such matters as mental hygiene orders, emergency protection orders, and similar. (3/19; check for updates re: individual courts and situations)

New York State Courts: No “Non-Essential” Filings

For all courts: No filings to be accepted, paper or electronic, except in “essential” cases (see above). (3/22).

Supreme Court, Bronx County

Foreclosure Part 24 adjourned. (3/18)

Supreme Court, Kings County

County Clerk still open, but operating at reduced staffing; call before coming in.

Supreme Court, New York County

71 Thomas and 80 Centre courthouses closed; essential functions and emergency applications all at 60 Centre; motions already argued are fully submitted; etc. (3/19)

Supreme Court, Queens County

Long Island City courthouse closed; all Supreme Court functions transferred to Queens Civil Court building next door at 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard; emergency applications only (3/23)

Appellate Division, 1st Dept.

Oral arguments 3/24 – 3/27 canceled, but may be done via videoconference if requested, otherwise appeals will be decided on papers; hard copy requirements waived; “emergency” motions only, etc. (3/17)

Appellate Division, 2d Dept

Appeals calendared up to 4/2 will be taken on submission unless videoconference argument is requested; no hard copies; all deadlines for perfection and briefing suspended until further notice, etc. (3/17)

United States District Court: Southern District of New York

“Essential functions” still being conducted but routine operations curtailed; temperature taken before entry allowed. See link for details. (3/24)

United States District Court: Eastern District of New York

Access limited to certain times of day and only for “essential functions.” See link for details. (3/18)

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

No access to the court unless for business before the court; oral arguments proceeding as scheduled via videoconference unless the parties wish to submit. (3/19)

NEW YORK STATE AGENCIES (selected)

DHCR

Advisory opinions re: Office of Rent Administration and Tenant Protection operating procedures, administration of Section 8 vouchers, etc. posted on rolling basis.

Secretary of State

Several functions closed, including acceptance of service of process and licensing applications

New York State Education Department Office of Professional Discipline (OPD)

Some tests for professional licenses postponed; license application procedures changed