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What Are the Maintenance Requirements for Elevators in NYC?

New York City is well known for its dense population and the verticality of its buildings. From the skyscrapers that make up the iconic Manhattan skyline to the gleaming residential towers popping up in the other four boroughs, the city makes the most of its surface area by building ever upwards. All those stories make the city’s 71,000 elevators an essential part of daily life, and that places an important duty on building owners and managing agents to ensure the elevators are maintained in a safe working condition. Here are a few of the maintenance requirements required by law.

Regular InspectionPhoto of an empty elevator shaft

The New York City building codes mandate inspection twice every year for all elevators operating in the five boroughs. These inspections are performed by a third-party licensed by the city’s Department of Buildings. The building owners are generally not given notice of the inspection but are required to give the inspectors access to the elevator when the inspector shows up. Failing an inspection can lead to hefty fines.

Maintenance Contracts

Every building owner has to have at all times a contract in place with an approved elevator maintenance company. The contract has to contain a Maintenance Control Program that follows the elevator manufacturer’s maintenance protocol. A log of all maintenance must be kept on site and accessible to the Department of Buildings on request. The building custodian must also keep the name, address, and telephone number of the maintenance company on hand.


In residential multi-unit buildings, the owner is required to notify all tenants, regardless of what floor they’re on, if the elevator will be out of service for repairs for more than two hours. For “modernization” work, longer repairs to upgrade the technology in the elevator, owners have to post notices of the work at least ten days before it begins stating the nature of the work and how long the elevator is expected to be out of service.

At Leav & Steinberg LLP, we have helped many clients who have been injured as a result of improperly maintained elevators. The city’s strict maintenance and reporting requirements make it much easier to determine whether the building owner and/or manager fulfilled their duty. If you’ve been injured as a result of an improperly maintained elevator, call us today. Our results speak for themselves, as do our satisfied clients. Request your free consultation today.