A: My client is interested in purchasing a townhouse which has been designated a “landmarked” property. What should I be aware of regarding landmarked properties?
B: A landmarked property or a property in a historic district (which is a collection of landmarked properties) is designated as such by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (“LPC”) because of the property’s architectural, historical or cultural significance. The LPC must approve, in advance, any alteration, reconstruction or demolition affecting a landmarked property. The LPC’s goal is not to freeze a building or area in time, but rather to ensure that a proposed alteration, reconstruction or demolition to a landmarked property is appropriate in maintaining the character of the building or area.
A property that has been landmarked or is in a designated historic district is subject to the Landmarks Law, and approval of the LPC is required for any exterior work, except for routine maintenance (such as replacing a broken window pane). Interior work to a landmarked property generally does not require LPC approval except when: (i) the work will affect the exterior of the property; (ii) the interior of the property has been landmarked; or (iii) the work affecting the interior of the landmarked property requires a building permit.
Important Tip: The LPC provides a map for locating landmarked properties and historic districts.
The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP