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What Is a Letter of No Objection in NYC Real Estate?

Posted by Hauseit Research on January 30, 2019
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A Letter of No Objection in NYC is used to verify the legal use of a building constructed before January 1st, 1938 which does not have a Certificate of Occupancy on file with the DOB. Properties built in NYC prior to 1938 were not required to have Certificates of Occupancy.

The most common reason for requesting Letter of No Objection is to verify the legal use of a property prior to filing an Alteration application with the DOB for renovations.

If you’re selling or buying a property built before 1938, it’s important to note that you are not  necessarily required to have a C/O or a Letter of No Objection on file in order to close.

This is because standard contract of sale in boiler plate language states that the seller will deliver at closing either a valid Certificate of Occupancy or a letter stating that one is not available.

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What Is a Letter of No Objection?

A Letter of No Objection is a document provided by the Department of Buildings (DOB) in NYC to confirm the legal use of a building constructed prior to January 1st, 1938 which does not have a Certificate of Occupancy.

Reasons for requesting a Letter of No Objection (LNO) include: determining the legal use of a property prior to filing a renovation application and satisfying a possible requirement or request from a lender, insurer or prospective buyer.

You may also request a Letter of No Objection if your property has a Certificate of Occupancy but the property has a different use than what is stated on the C/O or outlined in any applicable records.

For a Letter of No Objection to be issued, the proposed or actual use of the property must belong to the same ‘Use Group’ as outlined by the Zoning Resolution. It must also have the Occupancy Group (OG).

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Why Do You Need a Letter of No Objection?

The most common reason why owners request a Letter of No Objection is to verify the legal use of a property prior to filing an Alteration application with the DOB for renovations. A seller may also request a Letter of No Objection at the behest of a buyer who wants to verify the legal use of a property.

Another reason why you may require a Letter of No Objection is to satisfy requirements from a lender or insurer.

Because properties in NYC built before January 1st, 1938 do not have a Certificate of Occupancy, it’s extremely common to come across listings which do not have a CO. 

A Letter of No Objection in NYC is used to verify the legal use of a property built before January 1st, 1938 which does not have a DOB Certificate of Occupancy.

You are not necessarily required to have a C/O or a Letter of No Objection on file in order to close, however it’s a good idea to check with your lender, insurer and real estate attorney.

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How to Obtain a Letter of No Objection

The fastest and most practical way to obtain a Letter of No Objection is to hire an Expeditor. An Expediting Company will submit the necessary paperwork to the DOB on your behalf and usually speed up the process compared to trying it yourself.

The process of applying for a Letter of No Objection through an Expeditor typically takes around one month.

The following documentation must be submitted for buildings without a Certificate of Occupancy:

  • Copy of Property Profile and a list of Job Filings

  • Block & Lot Folder Plans/Microfilm

  • Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) printout for the number of units, the MDR number and any available “I” cards (for Three families and more Dwellings, residential or mixed use)

  • Note: the DOB may also require a field inspection

If the property already has a CO (Certificate of Occupancy), the following documentation must be submitted when requesting a Letter of No Objection:

  • A copy of the latest Certificate of Occupancy

  • Copy of Property Profile and a list of Job filings

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What Is a Certificate of Occupancy in NYC?

As per NYC Buildings, a Certificate of Occupancy “states a building’s legal use and/or type of permitted occupancy.” All new buildings are required to have a CO. Existing buildings are required to have a CO whenever there is a change in use, egress or type of occupancy.

For buildings constructed after January 1st, 1938, no occupancy is permitted until a valid Certificate of Occupancy or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy has been issued.

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Is a Certificate of Occupancy Required to Sell a Property in NYC?

Not necessarily. As a seller, you may be asked by a prospective buyer to furnish a Letter of No Objection if your property was built before January 1st, 1938 and there is no CO on file with the Department of Buildings.

You’re not necessarily required to provide the buyer with a LNO (Letter of No Objection), however this is something which a buyer may insist upon when negotiating.

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How to Get a Copy of a Certificate of Occupancy in NYC

The easiest way to obtain a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is to search for it using the NYC Building Information System (BIS). There are 4 ways to search for a property in BIS:

  • Search by borough, house number and street

  • Search by borough, block and lot

  • Search by Building Identification Number (BIN)

  • Browse by borough, block and lot (optional)

Once you’ve found the right building page, all you need to is click on ‘View Certificates of Occupancy’ on the top right. Here is an example of  Certificate of Occupancy:

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What Is a Letter of No Verification?

A Letter of Verification (LOV) may be requested by the DOB if a property has an existing Certificate of Occupancy (CO) but requires verification. NYC Buildings uses the same application form for both Letters of No Objection and Letters of Verification.

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Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).

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