Home Alone 2: A Study in NYC Buildings Compliance

We’re re-sharing last year’s popular holiday blog post about one of our favorite non-compliant capers in NYC. From all of us at SiteCompli, we hope you, your teams, and your families have a wonderful holiday season!

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is one of our favorite holiday movies, for several reasons:

  • It takes place in the greatest city on Earth
  • It revisits one of the most fun, mischievous characters in Holiday movie history
  • It involves NYC real estate compliance!!

To get into the holiday spirit, we’ve decided to analyze Kevin’s antics in the context of DOB laws – pop in your copy of Home Alone 2 and follow along!

Copyright 20th Century Fox/Hughes Entertainment

1. Kevin’s Unfiled Plans

When you’re trying to thwart two bad guys on Christmas Eve, you may not have time to file your PW1 with the DOB. Kevin failed to submit his ambitious plans for approval (which most definitely change the use, occupancy, and egress of the space), and is majorly out of compliance.

Result: Work Without a Permit violation, Stop Work Order, and more.
Possible $$ Amount: $20,000+
Read more: Increased Construction Enforcement Specifics


Copyright 20th Century Fox/Hughes Entertainment

2. Onsite Safety

It’s true that burglars Harry and Marv aren’t technically “onsite workers,” and wouldn’t fall under the requirements for site safety regulations. For our purposes, let’s say they were – this location would most certainly be targeted by the DOB for being a hazardous (to say the least) worksite.

Result: Stop Work Order, Class 1 DOB-ECB violations, Vacate Order, and possible contractor license suspension.
Possible $$ Amount: $25,000+
Read more: Experience is Not Enough – DOB campaign for construction worker safety


Copyright 20th Century Fox/Hughes Entertainment

3. Questionable Electric Work

One of the more memorable scenes from the movie is where Marv unfortunately touches a set of sink handles, which have been rigged to electrocute him. Kevin is clearly unlicensed by the DOB to perform electrical work, and once again failed to get a permit- this time from the Electrical Unit.

Result: Work Without a Permit violation, Class 1 DOB-ECB violation
Possible $$ Amount: $5,000+


Copyright 20th Century Fox/Hughes Entertainment

4. Flammable Liquid is not an FDNY-Approved Substance

After lighting his head on fire via a rigged lightbulb, Harry flips himself upside down into a toilet bowl in an effort to extinguish the flames. Trouble is, the bowl is filled with flammable liquid, igniting the entire house in a flash explosion. Let’s also not forget the escape rope soaked in kerosene, eventually engulfed in flames.

Result: Too many FDNY Violation Orders to count
Possible $$ Amount: Variable, dependent on possible Criminal Summons for negligent behavior


Copyright 20th Century Fox/Hughes Entertainment

5. Game Over

Falling bricks, gaping holes in the floor, broken stairs and shelving – this entire house is a death trap, waiting to be condemned by the city. Of course, every painful, law-breaking booby trap was created by design, but in real life this property would likely be given a Precept by the Unsafe Buildings Unit for being 1) open, 2) vacant, 3) unguarded, and 4) structurally compromised.

Result: Total and complete shutdown
Total Possible $$ Amount: At least 20x the amount raised by Duncan’s Toy Chest

Final analysis? While entertaining, Kevin McCallister is public enemy number 1 for all NYC compliance agencies – it’s not shocking that his estimated fine tally is higher than his exorbitant room service bill at The Plaza.

While these numbers would be shocking to anyone in the SiteCompli family, it’s just “another Christmas in the trenches” for Kevin. Just goes to show you that it pays to stay on top of your compliance, whether you’re a 10-year old kid or a seasoned property manager.

Happy Holidays from the SiteCompli family – we’ll see you back on the blog in 2017!

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.