NYC service suspensions: Here's what to know if you need to contact the city

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
March 31, 2020 - 11:30AM

Many city agencies like DOB, HPD, and DSNY have modified, suspended, or delayed certain services amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


New York City's governmental agencies are closed under the PAUSE order that sent non-essential workers home, but if you have housing or renovation matters to take care of, online services are being leveraged to keep things as normal as possible.

The Department of Buildings, Housing Preservation and Development, and Sanitation have modified and suspended certain services, while other are delayed. Most-in person functions are on hold, but not all, for example some HPD inspections are continuing, but only for serious issues

Brick Underground has rounded up some of the city’s latest changes, suspensions, and delays. Here's what you need to know. (You can go here for the full list of city service suspensions and reductions.)

Editor's note: Click here for more of Brick Underground's coronavirus coverage.

Department of Buildings

The Department of Buildings has modified its services to limit face-to-face interactions. For Application Processing services like obtaining Certificates of Occupancy, permit renewals, and other things, you should use the agency's eFiling system or DOB Now. If you cannot use their electronic systems, you should mail in your application or go to one of the drop-off boxes.

The department is also offering an Amnesty Program to building owners who failed to file a facade report, part of the Facade Inspection & Safety Program. Services related to licensing, plan pickups, and records are still conducted in-person. Non-essential construction has also been halted.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has suspended some services while modifying for phone and email. The Section 8 customer service office is closed, while all enforcement and neighborhood services walk-in centers are closed. You can reach out via phone, email, or fax for customer service. 

HPD’s inspectors are only inspecting hazardous violations like lack of heat or hot water, and other dire conditions. HPD will log non-emergency complaints and follow up once business is back to normal. Housing Ambassador services and free financial counseling through Ready to Rent will continue online or by phone. 

Department of Sanitation

You should continue to put out your trash and recycling out as normal, but collection for refuse, recycling, and organics may be delayed during the pandemic. 

DSNY has suspended its alternate-side parking regulations through April 14th. Food scrap drop-off sites have been suspended, and compost distribution and curbside pick-up for electronic recycling and textile/clothing donations, including refashionNYC and Greenmarket clothing collections, are suspended until further notice. 

Department of Finance

You can continue to pay your property taxes, apply for and renew property tax exemptions, and record and retrieve property deeds and other property-related documents online, so the department encourages you to utilize the department's e-services. 

For example, if you need to record or retrieve a deed, you can do so directly through the Automated City Register Information System. In-person business tax conciliation hearings, field visits, and tax mapping services have been suspended. 

New York City Housing Authority

NYCHA has reduced staff at its property management offices and suspended direct-contact meetings, but staff is still available for assistance via phone, email, and at reception desks. In-person programming for the agency’s senior centers is suspended, but the centers are serving as grab-and-go sites for seniors to pick up food.

In-person rent collection is also suspended, so residents should pay their rent via mail, phone, or the MYNYCHA app. Other suspensions include in-person public meetings and events at all NYCHA offices and developments, resident evictions (which have been paused state-wide),  and NYCHA's Administrative Hearing Office is postponing all cases until April 17th.

New York City Housing Development Corporation

HDC, which runs the city's affordable housing lottery, has suspended all in-person hearings and will proceed with meetings online. They have also moved all affordable housing project closings and asset management functions online.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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