DOB Launches No-Penalty Safety Inspection Program For Private Elevators

*Program Launched After Serious Private Elevator Incident*

New Yorkers are encouraged to request “no penalty, no cost” inspections of both registered and unregistered private elevators

New York, NY – Today, the Department of Buildings announced that owners of private homes with both registered and unregistered elevators can request a DOB inspection of the device with no penalty for the next 90 days. During this three-month program, the Department will perform initial inspections and tests of any registered or unregistered private elevator free of charge. This amnesty period is intended to encourage owners to bring their private elevators into compliance with DOB safety regulations and to have them inspected regularly – as required by law – to ensure that they are mechanically sound.

In January, a woman became stuck in a private elevator on the Upper East Side for 72 hours without having any ability to communicate with the outside world. DOB’s investigation determined that the elevator hoist motor had burned out and failed, causing the elevator to become stuck between two floors, and that the emergency phone inside of elevator car was not operable. Preventable incidents like this can be avoided by ensuring that private residential elevators are not only registered with the department but also regularly inspected and properly maintained.

Elevator devices in New York City, including dumbwaiters, platform lifts, and stairway chair lifts are legally required to be registered and have a certificate of compliance from the Department of Buildings to ensure they can be operated safely. Unregistered elevators, and ones that aren’t properly maintained, may pose a serious safety risk to passengers. Property owners with private elevator devices in their buildings are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity, not only for their own safety, but also for the safety of their friends and families.

Building owners who wish to receive a free, no penalty safety inspection should email the Department’s Elevator Unit at PrivateResidenceElevator@buildings.nyc.gov or call the unit at 212-393-2435. This safety inspection does not exempt jurisdictional elevators from code-required category 1 and category 5 cycle inspections.

For unregistered elevators under this program, private residence owners will need to retain a registered design professional or licensed elevator inspection agency, and then file an application with DOB to obtain an NYC device ID and certificate of compliance. The Department will not issue any penalties or violations to the private residence owner if the application is filed within this 90-day grace period. If our inspectors determine that repairs are needed, the Department will give property owners guidance on the repairs needed, and give them sufficient time to make the corrective repairs.

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