Are you the neighbor:

Have you received a notice from the DOB that your neighbor intent to begin construction work? Has your neighbor reached out to you in regard to this construction to inform you what to expect? These are good questions and they will probably show you how your neighbor will proceed and what you can expect in the future. We strongly believe that communication between the involved parties is to be preferred for both you and the developer

Are you the builder:

When making plans to renovate or expand your property, depending on the scoop of the work, you might question if you need to inform your neighbor about your future plans. If you’re pulling permits from the DOB, they are required to notify your neighbors in writing, but it might still be proper and friendly to talk to your neighbor and you might even be obligated to do so depending on the character of your project. Your architect or PE should already have informed you about any obligations.

Brownstone Counsel

Brownstone Counsel is here to help with information and guidance. Neighbors who are doing renovations or developers are often eager to get started on a new project. Both you and your neighbor have obligations and rights. You as an adjoining neighbor have the right to enjoy your property in a quiet and peaceful manner, and the developer who’s carrying out the construction, nearly always, has the right to renovate their property. We can help the involved parties with information and steer you in the right direction. 



We are here to help with information and guidance. Please feel free to reach out to our office. We would be happy to be of your assistance.



Our preferred way of contact is by email. We will follow up with a phone conversation, but we need some initial information first. Please include a short list of issues or questions you may have and a contact phone number where we can best reach you and we will get right back to you. 



New York City is the world’s greatest city, and the NYC DOB has since 1892 been an essential part of the city. The DOB is here to help make sure that all alternations and expansions are performed according to the NYC building codes. The people at the DOB can help with your questions and by calling 311 you can report concerns or violations if you believe a violation is taking place. The DOB will subsequently look into the matter and see if there is a basis for your claims.




Professional Engineer, PE


A professional engineer is often the person who can answer your questions concerning the construction drawings and site safety plans. If there have been any damages to your building, a PE can perform an inspection or probes and probes if needed. The developer should have a PE, but you might consider hiring your own independent PE as well to ensure that you receive all the information you need and get help with interpreting the construction drawings. 






Depending on the character of your neighbor’s construction project, they might need access to your property. If that is the case, you will need to have an access agreement made between you and your neighbor. This agreement will specify what access you give your neighbor, but also what guarantees your neighbor gives you in case of any damages or accidents. 

Sometimes things don’t go according to the plan or the developer is simply cutting corners to save time and money. This unfortunately happens more often than you may think. We have seen several examples where specific developers repeatedly have been praying on unknowledgeable neighbors. Many times, neighbors are overbearing in the beginning because they simply don’t know better or don’t have the financial means to seek professional help. We can help you connect with lawyers that have the specific experience needed to protect you, your building, and your tenants from what is yet to come. 






The DEP, department of environmental protection is in oversight of many things among others making sure that your drinking water is safe to drink, but they also oversee hazardous materials emergencies, among those asbestos monitoring and abatement. When a builder is starting a renovation, it’s the owner’s obligation to test the worksite for hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead paint. If you believe that asbestos is being removed by your neighbor in an unauthorized or hazardous manner, you should contact 311 immediately.