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Access to Building Department Records

Do I need to visit the Building Department to obtain a copy of surveys, plans, certificates or other documents related to a property?
Where can I find my Section, Block, and Lot Number (SBL)?

You can find your SBL either on your tax bill or you can go online to to

What is in my building file?

Your "historical" building file contains information on any prior applications, permits, certificates, building plans and surveys. You may look for up to 3 properties per day per person.

What is the cost of Document Reproduction or Scanning?

Small format Scans (documents 8.5 x 14 or smaller) $.25 per page
Large Format Scan (documents larger than 8.5 x 14) $5.00 per page
Small format Copies (documents 8.5 x 14 or smaller) $.25 per page
Large Format Copies (documents larger than 8.5 x 14) $8.00 per page

How long does it take to access a building file to view?

Based on appointment availability, you can access a building file along with a FOIL application request.

Building Department Approvals

What certificates does the Building Department issue?

The Building Department issues the following certificates:
• Certificate of Existing Use
• Certificate of Occupancy
• Certificate of Approval
• Certificate of Completion

When can I expect a Certificate of Occupancy, Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Approval?

Every project that has been signed off by an inspector receives a further back-end review by the inspector. The back-end review ensures Building Code and Zoning compliance and verifies that all portions of the work have been filed, approved, and completed appropriately. You can contact your Building Inspector or visit the Portal at for Permit and/or Certificate status.

What do I do if my house does not have a Certificate of Occupancy?

If your house was built prior to 1929, you will not have a Certificate of Occupancy, but the house may have a Certificate of Existing Use. If your house was built prior to 1938 and you do not have a Certificate of Existing Use, you can apply for one using the Town Portal. Click Apply for Permit Choose Obtain an Existing Use Certificate

When does a resident receive a Certificate of Occupancy, a Certificate of Existing Use, Certificate of Completion, and a Certificate of Approval?

A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is issued for new dwellings only. A Certificate of Existing Use (CEU) is issued to homes that were built and constructed prior to 1929. A Certificate of Completion is issued to an existing structure that has had an addition, alteration, or renovation permit. A Certificate of Approval is issued for plumbing permits.

Can an owner of a new construction occupy the dwelling prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy?

No. It is a violation of the Town Code and will result in the issuance of a summons.

What do I do if the construction on my house takes over 2 years to complete?

The Building Permit will need to be renewed and a possible fee will be required at the discretion of the Department.

What is the BZA and what do they do?

BZA stands for the Board of Zoning and Appeals. The BZA is solely independent from the Building Department. They are empowered by State Law to rule on requests for variances made by applicants that have received a Disapproval letter from the Building Department. Additionally, the BZA may serve to review any decision made by the Building Department and is challenged by an applicant or resident. Meetings are held at 9:30 am in the Town Board Room – 220 Plandome Road, Manhasset, NY. Please click here for hearing information.

How can I expedite my permit application?
The Town Code provides for an “expedited” review of pending permit applications under very limited circumstances. The relevant section of the Town Code is as follows:
§ 2-10.1. Procedure on request for expedited permit application review.
    1. An applicant may apply, in writing, to the Building Commissioner requesting expedited permit application review, which request shall include such supportive documentation and information as the Building Commissioner may require. The Building Commissioner shall review the request to determine if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
      1. The request is made to accommodate an emergency situation which has created a danger to health and/or safety; or [Amended 4-4-2023 by L.L. No. 8-2023 ]
      2. The request is in furtherance of advancing a public interest such as, but not limited to, job creation and/or economic development; or
      3. The request is made in connection with the provision of an essential service, which shall include, but not be limited to, facilities or parts thereof which are connected to the furnishing of medical, governmental, police, fire and/or health and safety services; or
      4. The request is made to avoid extreme financial hardship to the applicant, which hardship is not self-created; or
      5. The request is related to an application for design modifications and accessibility improvements to facilitate access, safety or independent living or to remove architectural barriers to access for persons with mobility impairments or for people with disabilities at entrances to and within buildings. Some examples of requests satisfying this criteria shall include, but not be limited to, the following: the installation of ramps or kitchen and bathroom renovations for the purposes listed above; or
      6. The request is made to address an urgent concern, including, but not limited to, illness,disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need involving the applicant or an immediate family member of the applicant, and the delay in waiting for the application to be processed under ordinary review-time standards would result in a severe detriment to the applicant or the applicant's immediate family member.
    2. The procedure set forth in § 2-10.1A shall not apply to the following:
      1. Building and plumbing permit applications to maintain construction, changes, alterations,improvements or modifications previously undertaken without the required permit(s).
      2. Where it can be reasonably determined by the Building Commissioner that the applicant or someone on the applicant's behalf engaged in conduct that is contrary to the Town Code, New York State Building Code, or other applicable law, or with the intention of not complying withsuch code or law without first seeking a required approval.
    3. Upon receipt of a request for expedited permit application review, the Building Commissioner and the Planning Commissioner shall review the request, together with the documentation supporting it,and render a written determination within five business days. The Building Commissioner and Planning Commissioner may require additional documentation to support the request. If the two commissioners agree on the determination, the determination shall be the final determination. If the two commissioners do not agree on the determination, the request shall be denied. The Building Commissioner shall notify the applicant of the determination, in writing, within five business daysfrom receipt of the request. The written determination shall become a part of the permanent file maintained by the Building Department.

  1. Prohibitions. It shall be unlawful for any person or business entity to make false statements or mislead the Building Commissioner in order to secure an expedited review pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or to fail and/or neglect to inform the Commissioner of a change in the project which would negate eligibility for an expedited review.
Does the owner of a commercial building or the owner of the business file an application for work?

The owner of a commercial building is required to provide an affidavit if tenant work being filed. Business owners can apply for a permit, but the owner of the building will need to sign and notarize the building owner’s affidavit.

What is the definition of Illegal Housing?

An illegal housing situation arises when a dwelling is occupied beyond the limitations of the Certificate of Occupancy that has been issued for that property. For example, a legal one (1) family home may be occupied unlawfully as a two (2) or more family residence. Thus, an illegal housing condition is created.


When do I need to file for a Permit?

The following projects require you file an application for Residential Building Permit:

    Construction of new homes & buildings; Additions to existing homes and buildings; Interior alterations & renovations; Kitchen & Bathroom renovations; Finished Basements; Fireplaces & Chimneys; Above & Below-ground swimming pools; Hot Tubs; Tennis Courts; Decks & Patios; Retaining Walls; Large Sheds;

The following projects require specific permit applications:

    Fence Installation; Tree removal; Solar Panel Installation; Electrical equipment installation; Erection of temporary structures (including tents); Sign & Awning installations; Antennas & communication towers; Demolition of structures; Changes in use of a property or structure.

Permits are also required for Single & Multi-Family Rentals and Public Assembly. Such permits require that you renew annually or bi-annually.
A permit is also required for the following plumbing related work:

    Plumbing Fixtures; Gas Appliances & Piping; Gas Heating Units & Generators; Oil Heating Units & Generators; Removal or Installation of Fuel Storage Tanks; Installation of HVAC Units & Ductwork; Sewage/Septic Infrastructure; Water Service Installation; Drywells & Fire Sprinkler Systems.

If any of the above plumbing related work will be performed in conjunction with an addition, alteration, renovation, or any structural work; a Building Permit must be filed first. Upon initial review of your Building Permit Application, you will be directed to file the appropriate permit applications based on the scope of you work.

What procedures require permits from the Highway Department?

Dumpster Permits, Road Opening/Closing, Curb Cut, Gas Service, Sewer Connect/Disconnect, Sidewalk Replacement, Tree Removal (from curbside), Water Connect/Disconnect are issued thru the Highway Department.

What type of payment is acceptable to pay for Building Department permits?
  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • eCheck
  • Check
Where can I view the status of my application?

Permit Application status can be viewed here on the Portal. Click on the My Account link at the top of this screen. Once logged into the Portal, Click View my Permits / Requests on the left-hand side. You may also contact us by clicking here.

How do I close out open permits on my property?

An active permit must be closed out by a final inspection performed by the assigned inspector. Contact your Inspector for a final sign off. If your permit is older than 2 years and has expired, you will need to provide a FOIL request using your Section, Block and Lot to the Records Department through this website to determine the status and course of action needed.

Do I need a permit to put up an above ground pool?

Yes, a permit is required if the above ground pool that is in excess of 100 square feet of surface area or 24” or more in depth. Additionally, above ground pools that are less than 48” in height from grade requires a 6’ fence. Above ground pools 48” or greater above grade do not require a fence, but the access ladder for the pool must be capable of being removed or locked to prevent unauthorized access. All submittal requirements, additional forms for above ground pools are provided on the permitting page under Residential Building Permit Application.

If I have an existing in-ground pool and it is leaking and cracking and I want to demo it and replace it, do I need a permit?

Yes, you need a permit to demo, remove or replace an existing in-ground pool.

Do I need a permit to do a full interior demolition on my own house?

Yes, you need a permit to do a full or partial interior demolition on your house.

Do I need a permit to finish my basement?

Yes, you need a permit to finish your basement.

Can I remove trees in my backyard without permits?

Yes, you can remove trees from the side and rear yard of your property without a permit.
Trees located in the front of your property cannot be removed without a permit (homes on corner lots have two front yards). A permit is also required to remove any tree(s) which is associated with any other activity for which a permit is required, regardless of the location.

If I replace all my windows, do I need a permit?

No, you do not need a permit for the direct replacement of windows of the same size and location. However, if you wish to install larger or smaller windows and reframe the openings, a permit is required.

Do I need a permit to install an elevator?

Yes. A permit must be obtained as part of a new installation. However, the applicant must engage the services of a private elevator inspection company to provide all oversight. The private company then provides the documentation of proper installation to the Town on behalf of the applicant.

Do I need a permit for an underground sprinkler?

Residents can contact their Water District to obtain a sprinkler permit. The Water District oversees the installation of such systems. The Highway Department does not grant permits for installing sprinkler systems in the Town right of way. They are not allowed.

How many layers of shingles are permitted on a roof and when is a permit required for roofing?

Two layers of roof shingles are permitted. More than two layers is not permitted and requires the removal of all roof shingles prior to re-roofing. You are only permitted one layer when the existing roofing is wood shake, wood shingle, slate, clay, cement, or asbestos-cement roofing.
Replacement of roof shingles does require a permit, as does the replacement of roof sheathing to which the shingles are attached. A permit is also required when you alter or replace any structural component of the roof.

Is a boat on the driveway a violation?

A boat on the paved section of a driveway is not a violation of code. If the boat is on an unpaved section, backyard, grass or connected in any way to a structure, it is a violation of code.

Are blinking, florescent, neon signs permitted?

Blinking, Florescent, Neon Signs are not permitted.

Accessory Structures

When does a resident require a permit for a shed?

Portable sheds do not require a permit. Portable sheds are sheds without fixed attachment to the ground and are limited to 144 square feet in area and 10 feet in height. Even when a permit is not required, portable sheds must still be located in the rear yard with a minimum setback of 3 feet to any property line. Any shed which does not conform to the limits of a portable shed requires a permit.


Do I need a permit for a fence?

Yes, you need a permit for a fence.

How tall can the fence be?

Fencing along the side lot line may be a maximum of five (5) feet in height and fencing along the rear lot line may be a maximum of six (6) feet in height. All other fencing is limited to 4 feet in height. No fences are permitted in any front yard of the dwelling.

How would I go about getting a permit for a fence taller than noted in paragraph above?

An application needs to be submitted through this website for the nonconforming fence. Since the proposed fencing does not comply with the Town Code, the application will be denied by the Building Department. The denial letter issued by the Building Department provides you with the opportunity to make an application to the Board of Zoning and Appeals for a "variance" from the requirements of the Town Code. The Board of Zoning and Appeals will hear the facts and circumstances surrounding your request at a public hearing. All interested parties will have the opportunity to be heard. After all the evidence is presented, a decision to grant or deny the variance will be made.

Who determines if a fence is on my property or my neighbor?s?

Whether a fence is located on your property or your neighbor's property is a civil matter between you and your neighbor, the Town of North Hempstead is not involved. A property survey from a licensed land surveyor can help to locate a fence in proximity to a property line. However, a fence permit will only be issued to the property owner upon whose property the fence is located.

If I am hiring a fence contractor, does the contractor need to be licensed in the Town of North Hempstead?

Yes, they must hold a valid North Hempstead Fence Erector?s License.


Can I perform plumbing work in my own house?

Yes, but the Town requires the homeowner successfully complete a plumbing competency exam prior to starting any work. If you have additional questions, please submit a request using the Contact Us form on the Portal homepage.

Can I have a bathroom in my basement?

Yes, you can have a bathroom in your basement, but a permit is required.

Can I change my plumbing contractor in the middle of the job?

Yes, please click here to complete a change of Licensed Plumber Affidavit.

Do I need to install drywells on my property when there is an extension on my house?

You must provide a method of on-site storm water control when there is an extension and/or paving, added to the property that shall exceed 5% of the lot area or 750 square feet, whichever is less. In most cases, drywells are utilized, however other options are permitted by the Town Code, such as rain gardens, rain barrels, etc. A registered design professional can help you in determining the best course of action.

Do I need to have a gas pressure test when gas piping is altered?

Yes, you need to have all the gas piping tested when gas piping is installed or altered. Improperly installed or modified gas piping creates serious life safety issues. Getting the lines tested can save lives.

When do I need to call to arrange for an appointment for a plumbing inspection?

You should call/email immediately upon receipt of approval from the Building Department for your permit.

Do I need a licensed plumber to install gas piping?

Yes, you need a licensed plumber to install gas piping.

I am the plumbing contractor of record, should any other contractor be on my permit?

No, if you are the plumber of record then no other contractor should be on the permit.

Septic Systems

How can I find out where my cesspool or septic system is located?

Cesspools and Septic Systems have had various regulations throughout the years which can make them difficult to locate. Sometimes a diagram can be found in the historic records of the property with the Town or County Health Department. A plumber may also be able to help you find your system. An old cesspool under a lawn may often leave a tell-tale circular area of deep green growth. For more information, click here.

May I directly replace my collapsed or poorly functioning cesspool?

No, cesspools are no longer permitted by Nassau County regulations. If an old cesspool must be replaced, a new system consisting of a septic tank and a leeching pool must be installed to replace the cesspool.

Do I have a septic tank or a sewer system?

Please contact the Nassau County Department of Public Works at (516) 571-9600 to find out if you have a septic tank or sewer system.

If I am installing a septic system, do I need to install the system in the front yard?

Yes, when conditions allow, you need to install the system in the front yard.

Do I need a permit for a new septic system?

Yes, you need a permit for a new septic system.

Fuel Tanks

If a resident were to remove or abandon his/her underground fuel tank, is a permit necessary?

Yes. The resident must file an application on the Town Portal. The work to remove or abandon said tank must be performed by a company that is authorized to do so. . For more information, refer to the Oil Permit Submittal Requirements.

HVAC | Air Conditioning Units

How far from my property line can I install an HVAC unit (such as an A/C condensing unit)?

HVAC units must be a minimum of 3 feet from the side and rear lot lines of the side and rear yards in all Residential Zoning Districts, however if they are less than 5 feet from the property lines, they must be screened from view by evergreen plantings or fencing. HVAC units may also be located in the front yard only within the 5-foot permitted encroachment area, and only when screened by evergreen plantings. HVAC units may not be located greater than 3 feet from the house. A permit is required for both the
HVAC unit and the ductwork installed within the house. For more information, refer to the HVAC Submittal Requirements.


Can I perform electrical work in my own home?

The Town Code states that all electrical work must be performed by a contractor who holds a Town of North Hempstead Electrical license.

Do I have to take out an electrical permit with the Town?

No, but the Town requires an original Electrical Underwriter's Certificate be submitted to the Town after any electrical work has been performed.

How do I find a company that is authorized to issue an Electrical Underwriter's Certificate?

Your licensed electrician should be able to direct you to an Electrical Underwriting Agency that is licensed to do perform inspections in the Town of North Hempstead. Electrical Inspection Agencies

What electrical inspection agencies are TONH approved licensed underwriters?

The following is a list of agencies currently approved to perform electrical inspections in the unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead. See list here.

What considerations should be made when installing generators?

Generators should be used in well ventilated locations outside at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from all doors, windows, and vent openings. Measure the 5-foot (1.5 meters) distance from the generator exhaust system to the building. Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open. Click here for more information on portable generator safety.

Where can a resident find information on solar panel requirements?

Solar Panel information can be found here. While there is no fee for filing an application for a Residential Solar Panel permit, an application must be filed with the Town


Are there specific hours that contractors may work?

To promote quieter, more tranquil communities in North Hempstead, the Town enacted a Noise Ordinance that limits the times in which certain activities can take place. In accordance with the Town's Ordinance, any construction activity that creates noise that can be heard within the boundaries of a residential property is not permitted on weekdays before 7:30 AM or after 6 PM. Nor is it permitted on weekends between 6 PM Friday and 6 AM Monday or at any time on a holiday in which the Town of North Hempstead is not open. The use of heavy equipment, power tools, hammering and sawing are examples of prohibited activities within the prescribed hours.

How can I obtain permission to engage in construction activity that creates noise during the prohibited hours?

Permission to engage in construction during the prohibited hours may be requested by writing the Commissioner of the Building Department and demonstrating an urgent necessity in the interest of public safety. In such cases, a permit will be issued by the Commissioner. Such requests should be made in a manner that provides the Commissioner with ample time to consider the request including making a site visit. The section of the Noise Ordinance which relates to construction activity can be found at Chapter 38-3B.(7) of the Town Code. If you have any question as to what scope of work falls within this chapter, please contact the Building Department for guidance by calling 311 or by contacting us online here.

Is there a list of contractors that are in good standing?

No, it is a conflict of interest for the Town to provide a list of contractors that are in good standing.

Can the Town or inspector recommend a contractor?

No, neither the Town nor the inspector will recommend a contractor.

Rental Registrations

Why do I need a permit to rent my house?

A permit is needed to protect against overcrowded rentals and to ensure safety and code compliance for the tenants and owners alike.

What do I need to apply for Rental Registration? How long does a Permit last?

To receive a Rental Registration Permit; the property owner must complete an application, submit a survey and a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy/Certificate of Existing Use for the property they would like to rent. The permit is valid for two (2) years from the date the application is filed with the Town.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Where should I install my smoke detectors in a dwelling?

Smoke detectors are required in each bedroom or sleeping room, outside of but within the immediate vicinity of all bedrooms, and at least one per floor.

Where should I install carbon monoxide detectors in a dwelling?

Carbon monoxide detectors are required within 15 feet of every bedroom or sleeping room, and at least one on every floor where there is a carbon monoxide source. Carbon monoxide sources include all fuel (gas or oil) burning equipment, along with fireplaces, attached garages, and any other place where combustion occurs.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms?

Effective June 27, 2015, New York State Building Code regulations require all commercial buildings and restaurants to have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. For more information, please click here.

Property Maintenance

My neighbor's property is in total disrepair, the grass has not been cut in weeks, who handles this issue?

If your neighbor's property is in total disrepair, it is a Code Enforcement issue. Please call 311 from within the Town or 516-869-6311 if outside of town.


Are temporary signs or banners permitted in the Town?

Temporary Grand Opening signs are permitted in accordance with the regulations of §70-196J(6) of the Town Code found here.
No other temporary signs are permitted. Accordingly, they are not eligible for a permit. Real Estate signs are only allowed on properties that are being sold. No signs are permitted on the Towns right of way.

Do you have questions or concerns regardings illegal housing?

Below is a link to the guide to help fight illegal housing. For any questions or concerns about illegal housing please dial 311 or (516) 869-6311.

Guide to Fighting Illegal Housing

Zoning Maps

How do I determine in which zone my home is located?