Vacate Orders are what they sound like–buildings they’re issued to must be completely vacated in the interest of public safety. The Department of Buildings (DOB) issues them when it has determined that building conditions present an imminent threat because of structural damage or illegal conditions. Alternatively, the building itself may be safe, but dangerous conditions at nearby properties present a hazard. Common precipitators of Vacate Orders include insufficient means of egress, lack of fire sprinklers, and hazardous work without a permit.
Vacate Orders can either be “partial” or “complete.” In the case of the former, the non-offending parts of the building can continue to be occupied as normal. Otherwise, aside from the work necessary to correct the violating conditions, it’s illegal for anyone to even so much as enter the dangerous areas as long as the order is in effect.
The only way to remove a Vacate Order is to correct the offending problem.