Attorneys for Property Owners, Developers, Contractors, Design Professionals, and the Construction Trades in New York City

Construction License Agreements and Proceedings Under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law §881

The geography of New York City presents unique challenges to developers, as buildings are packed together so tightly that it can be difficult or impossible to complete a construction project without accessing the property of a neighbor. Section 3309 of the New York City Building Code requires contractors to place protection measures, like netting or sheds, across the property line to guard neighboring persons and property against harm. Sometimes certain construction operations can only physically be done while standing on the property next door. Such access to neighboring property is a trespass, even when done with the goal of protecting the neighbor’s building. It is necessary to negotiate a temporary license agreement for permission to access a neighboring property. Usually, the licensee must provide a host of protections to the licensor, including insurance and indemnification. It is also common for the licensee to pay a license fee during construction to compensate the licensor for the inconvenience of the trespass.

Our firm has negotiated such agreements for properties all over the City and for projects of every size from renovation of single-family homes in the outer boroughs, to construction of forty-story buildings in midtown and downtown Manhattan. We know how to protect property owners.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a construction project can stall indefinitely. New York State law provides a remedy in Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law section 881, which enables a property owner to petition to the Court for temporary access to neighboring property to make improvements to its own property “upon such terms as may be just.”

In the past few years, due to the explosion in the number of construction projects around the City – and presumably also due to the number of inexperienced builders struggling to meet the demand – the number of “881” cases has skyrocketed. The courts of New York State have been issuing decisions on 881 petitions at a rapid clip, some of which have had profound effects on the rights and obligations of licensees and licensors. Our firm has vast experience in both initiating and defending 881 petitions.

Practice Areas

Land Use and Zoning

We have many years of representing property owners before the regulatory agencies for land use in New York City:
• New York City Department of City Planning: The New York City Zoning…

Read More


Our attorneys handle a wide range of civil litigation cases in the Supreme Courts of New York State, in the Counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond, and in the United States District Courts…

Read More

Licensure and Discipline of Design Professionals and Building Trade Licensees

The New York State Education Department issues licenses to Professional Engineers (PEs) and…

Read More

Construction License Agreements and Proceedings under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law §881

The geography of New York City…

Read More

Property Law

American law governing the use, transfer, and enjoyment of real property was inherited from English common law, and its foundational principles are based in English statutes and court decisions that…

Read More

Opposition Work

It is common in New York City for neighborhood associations, individuals, and ad-hoc groups to oppose construction projects of all sizes, both public and private. Stu Klein, Chris Slowik, and…

Read More

Hearings at the NYC Environmental Control Board (ECB)/OATH Hearings Division

Property owners, contractors, and construction licensees are all familiar…

Read More

New York City Criminal Court for Building and Fire Code Violations (Part SAP2A)

Before Stuart Klein led the effort to draft legislation that led to the establishment…

Read More

New York City DOB Matters

The New York City Department of Buildings regulates the construction, alteration, and demolition of buildings in the five boroughs, by enforcing the New York City Construction Codes, including…

Read More

Commercial Landlord/Tenant

For building owners and commercial tenants alike, the commercial lease is the foundation of their business, and its negotiation and enforcement is a top priority. Our attorneys are experienced in…

Read More

Civil Rights

Many of our clients face some sort of adverse action by a government agency or official, such as the revocation of a professional license or an order to demolish an allegedly dilapidated…

Read More

Lot Mergers, Lot Consolidations, and Transfer of Development Rights (Air Rights)

New Yorkers offhandedly refer to “lots,” but there is a distinction between a tax…

Read More

Mechanic’s Liens

New York State’s Lien Law enables a contractor or materials supplier to place a lien on a property if its owner withholds payment for services or goods. The Lien Law has its own unique procedures for…

Read More

Multiple Dwelling Regulation

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development: HPD regulates the City’s stock of rental housing. Certain multiple dwellings, including “single room occupancy”…

Read More

Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Litigation

According to the United States Courts web site, 13,552 bankruptcy cases were filed in the New York City area as of September 30, 2017.* These cases run the gamut from Chapter 7 liquidation…

Read More

Skip to content