In a recent case before me as an arbitrator in Small Claims Court, the claimant, a young man who had just opened a pet store in Manhattan, decided to put up a security gate in order to protect his investment in the store’s contents.
To protect his privacy, I will call him “Matt”.
Matt did not know that he was about to get caught up in New York City’s rigid permit system.
Matt’s contract with the Gate company (here called “Sonny’s Gates”) required Sonny to get the necessary permits from the NYC Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Commission.
However, Sonny did not get the permits and did not tell Matt before he installed the gate.
For reasons of his own, perhaps tempted by hubris on Sonny’s part, his lack of experience with NYC’s permit process or the rich contract price, Sonny apparently decided to install the gate first and leave the problems of the permits for later.
As soon as the gate was installed, Matt was summoned to court and told that he had to take down the offending gate before his request for permission would even be considered, and he was then fined $5,000 for violating the permit law.
Matt then decided to hire an “expeditor”, an expert familiar with the labyrinth of NYC permit regulations, who then walked Matt through the entire permit process for a fee of $2,000. This became necessary because Sonny failed to get the permits.
At this point, Matt was out of pocket about $7,500 over and above the original cost of the gate.
To see my decision click on the link below. Decisions