Building Records Research NYC

by | Last updated Jul 14, 2020 | NYC DOB, Property Development

In NYC Property Records can sometimes be difficult to find. There are resources available for building records research.


  • DOB Records
  • HPD Records / I Card
  • Landmarks
  • DOF
  • Sanborn Maps


DOB Records

When looking into the records on an existing building the Certificate of Of Occupancy is always a good place to start. This can be found on the Department Of Buildings (DOB) website. The DOB may also have copies of approved plans and paperwork on the property. Sometimes this is on microfilm.


HPD Records / I Card

Before there were Certificates Of Occupancy there was the I card. This is an old handwritten card done by Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The I card has notes on the building and sometimes a sketch of the layout. There will only be an I Card if the building has or had residential use.


Determining if a building is Landmarks is important and understanding its impact is as well. New York City has a lot of Landmark Properties and Landmark Districts.

DOF Acris

The Department Of Finance (DOF) has financial and property records. These can be found on their online resource ACRIS or the Automated City Register Information System. On ACRIS you can find documents like deeds, easements, zoning exhibits, and other property related documents.


Sanborn Maps

Sanborn maps are good for checking the history of a property. Sometimes the zoning code requires us to determine if a property subdivision was done before or after a certain year. The Sanborn maps can help prove that type of information.


NYC Building and Property Records Research 

As an architect I study the New York City resources, but these are complicated and quite involved. In this article, we reviewed some of the basic resources with regards to Property and Building Records Research in NYC. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank you for reading our blog post on NYC Property and Building Records Research.

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Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.