Permit & Inspection Services

NEW: Short Term Rental Dwelling Regulations

A recently passed City of Buffalo ordinance requires hosts of short term rental dwellings like Airbnb to register their properties. Owners must submit the business license application posted below to the Department of Permit & Inspection Services. For owner-occupied rental dwellings, the first-time registration fee is $150 with a $75 annual renewal fee. For non-owner-occupied rental dwellings, the owner must file for a special use permit in Room 301 of City Hall, and the registration fee is $250 with an $150 annual renewal fee. Owners who reside outside of Erie County must designate a local agent. Refer to the application below for more details and safety requirements.

Short Term Rental Dwelling Application - UPDATED with Sample Floor Plan

Description of Services

The Department of Permit and Inspection Services oversees all development and uses on private property in the City of Buffalo, ranging from a new patio in a residential backyard to the construction of a new multi-story office building. Our mission is to guide residents and property owners through the license and/or permit process. We review and inspect these projects to ensure safety and compliance with the New York State Building and Fire Code, the Buffalo Green Code, and all other appropriate codes or ordinances.

Department Objectives

  • Review and issue permits for new buildings, additions, changes of use, remodeling, repairs, flat work, decks, sheds, and demolitions on residential and commercial sites.
  • Determine if projects are compliant with the City of Buffalo Green Code, New York State Building Code, and all other applicable codes and ordinances. This includes referring projects to other departments for approval (i.e. Preservation Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Public Works for Encroachment on R.O.W., Common Council), and reviewing building plans for code compliance.
  • Organize preliminary meetings with architects, engineers, developers, and property owners in order to address questions and concerns at the conceptual stage of a project.
  • Inspect projects throughout construction to ensure compliance with City and State Codes and issue a close out document (i.e. Certificate of Occupancy, Certificate of Compliance).
  • Inspect properties to encourage and enforce property maintenance for the benefit of all residents.
  • Issue licenses for all contractors, retail businesses involving food, entertainment/recreation type businesses, dealers of second hand merchandise, sales of any kind occurring outside (mobile or stationary peddler), property managers, parking lots, and many others.
  • Address consistently non-compliant properties/owners with tickets, board-ups, clean & cut requests, or referral to housing court.