Letter Of No Objection In NYC Real Estate

By: ROS Team

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Ever considered buying a charming brownstone in New York City? These historic buildings offer a unique living experience, but navigating the legalities can be tricky. One potential hurdle you might encounter is the requirement for a Letter of No Objection (LNO). This blog post will unravel the mystery of LNOs in NYC real estate, explaining what they are and how to get them.

What is Letter of No Objection NYC?

In New York City’s real e­state landscape, a Lette­r of No Objection (LNO) or Letter of Verification (LOV) serves as a legal docume­nt issued by the Departme­nt of Buildings (DOB). This letter signifies the­ DOB’s acceptance of the curre­nt usage of a building constructed before­ the year 1938, which commonly lacks an official Certificate­ of Occupancy (CO). Its primary function is to validate the legality of the­ building’s purpose, proving essential for securing financing or confirming suitability for specific uses.

When Do You Need No Objection Letter?

You’ll likely need a no objection letter in NYC real estate when buying a building built before 1938 that lacks a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to verify its legal use for tasks like securing financing or confirming it suits your needs.

How Long Does a Letter of No Objection Take?

Getting a Le­tter of No Objection (LNO) in New York City can be­ a time-consuming process, ranging from a month to seve­ral months. A relatively straightforward application handled by a skille­d expediter may re­ceive approval within a month. Howeve­r, more intricate cases or applications re­quiring revisions can significantly prolong the wait time.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy in NYC?

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is a vital document issued by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) signifying a building complies with all safety and construction regulations. It essentially gives the official go-ahead for legal occupancy.

New buildings and existing ones undergoing major alterations requiring a change in use or occupancy must obtain a CO. The CO outlines the building’s legal use, maximum occupancy per floor, and construction classification.

Difference Between Letter of No Objection And Certificate of Occupancy

A CO is mandatory for most new constructions and significant renovations, whereas an LNO is specific to pre-1938 buildings that often lack a CO due to historical reasons.

A CO signifies a building meets current safety standards, while an LNO simply confirms the DOB has no objections to the building’s existing use. An LNO doesn’t guarantee the building meets modern safety codes.

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

A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) isn’t always mandatory to sell a property in NYC. Howeve­r, for buildings constructed before 1938 without a CO, pote­ntial buyers may request a Le­tter of No Objection (LNO) from the De­partment of Buildings. This document verifie­s the legal use of the­ property. While providing an LNO is optional, some buye­rs consider it essential.

How Can You Get A Letter Of No Objection in NYC?

There are two main approaches to securing a Letter of No Objection (LNO) in NYC:

1- Hiring an Expediter

This is the fastest and most practical option for most people. Expediting companies specialize in navigating the Department of Buildings (DOB) bureaucracy and can significantly speed up the process compared to tackling it yourself. Here’s what they typically do:

Initial Assessment: They’ll help you determine the building you have (single-family, multi-family, commercial, etc.) This is crucial as LNO requirements can vary depending on the building type.

2- DIY Approach (be prepared for a longer process)

If you prefer to handle the application yourself, here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

Gather Supporting Documents: The exact documents needed will depend on your specific situation. However, some common requirements include:

  • Letter of No Objection Application form: Download it from the NYC DOB website.
  • Photos of the Property: Exterior and interior shots showcasing the current use.
  • Deed: Proof of ownership.
  • DOB Records (if available): Any existing records from the Department of Buildings related to the property.
  • HPD Records (if available): Records from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, particularly relevant for residential buildings.
  • Letter explaining Zoning Use Group and Building Code Occupancy Group: This clarifies how the building currently functions and its classification under NYC zoning and building codes. You may need an architect or engineer’s assistance to determine these classifications accurately.


Fill Out the LNO Request Form: Carefully complete the application form with all the necessary details about the property and its current use.

File the Request with the DOB: Submit the completed application form along with all supporting documents to the DOB. You can do this electronically or in person at a designated DOB borough office.

Who Is Responsible for Getting a Letter for No Objection – Seller or Buyer?

In NYC real estate, the responsibility for obtaining a letter of no objection typically falls on the seller during the sales process. Standard real estate contracts often include a clause requiring the seller to deliver a valid Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or, if unavailable, a letter stating one is not available (which is the LNO).  This ensures a smooth transaction and protects the buyer’s interests.

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