520 CMR 16 Fines for Expired Certificates – FAQs
Q1: What fines will be issued pursuant to M.G.L. c. 143 § 65 and 520 CMR 16?
A: The Department will assess a fine of $100 per day to elevator owners for every day that a unit is operated beyond its certification expiration date.
Q2: How are certificate expiration dates determined?
A: Certificate expiration dates are set at the last day of a month. The first expiration date for a newly installed elevator, or for an elevator that has undergone modernization, will generally be one year from the month in which the elevator has its first installation acceptance inspection (or five years for an elevator in an owner-occupied single-family residence). Thereafter the next expiration date will generally be the same as the last expiration date, except:
- If the annual (or five-year) inspection takes place more than six months after an expiration date, the next expiration date will be set from the inspection date rather than from the last expiration date.
- For placarded elevators, the expiration date is set from the date the elevator passes inspection and is re-certified.
However, it is the owner’s responsibility to look at the certificate to determine the next expiration date, and to ensure that an inspection application is timely filed (up to 90 days before the expiration date).
Q3: Where can I find certificate expiration dates for the elevators I own or service?
A: Certificates issued since 2015 are available on the Department’s Inspections and Permitting System (IPS) online customer portal (https://massdpsportal.secure.force.com/home/home.jsp ).
Q4: What happens if an elevator owner applies for an annual inspection after the expiration date of the certificate?
A: When the application is received after the expiration of the certificate, the owner will be assessed a $100 fine for each day that the elevator was in operation beyond the expiration date of the certificate. The fines will stop accruing upon the Department’s receipt of the application. Since the program was established on July 1, 2013, the fines will not be calculated prior to that date. For example, if your elevator certificate expired on June 1, 2013, and you applied for an annual inspection on August 1, 2013, you will be assessed a fine of $100 per day beginning on July 1, 2013, and ending on August 1, 2013, which would total $3,100. For certificate expiration dates after July 1, 2013, fines begin to accrue on the day after the expiration date. For example, if your certificate expired on September 1, 2015 and your application is received on September 2, 2015, you will be assessed a fine of $100.
Q5: Is there a maximum fine that may be assessed for operating a unit beyond the certificate expiration date?
A: The maximum fine for a unit that has a travel distance of 25 feet or less and is located in a single-family owner-occupied residence in accordance with M.G.L. c. 143 § 64 is $5,000. For all other units, the maximum fine is $20,000.
Q6: When is payment of a fine due?
A: Unless an appeal is timely filed, payment of a fine is due within 30 days of receipt of the notice of violation.
Q7: Can I appeal the notice of fine?
A: Yes, written requests for an administrative appeal must be filed with the Department on the appropriate form Appeal Form – Civil Fine for Expired Elevator Certificates or through IPS (https://massdpsportal.secure.force.com/home/home.jsp ) within 30 days of receipt of the notice of violation. After an administrative review, the Department will issue a written decision. If you would like a hearing after this review, you may request one within 30 days of receipt of the written decision. Payment of the fine or failure to appeal within 30 days constitutes a waiver of the right to administrative review. If an appeal is not made and the fine is not paid, the Department is authorized to shut down the unit as a result.
Q8: What factors will the Department consider in deciding an appeal?
A: The Department may consider (a) the willfulness of the violation; (b) previous violations resulting in the imposition of administrative penalties; (c) clerical errors; (d) inaccurate assessments; (e) lack of prior use; (f) de minimis risk of injury to the public; and/or (g) severe financial hardship.
Q9: I have a contractual relationship with my elevator contractor that requires it to apply for the annual inspection. Is this relationship relevant to an appeal?
A: The Department may consider evidence about an owner’s contractual relationship in assessing the willfulness of the violation and any affirmative steps that the owner may have taken to ensure that the application was timely submitted.
Q10: What evidence will be considered in order to determine that an inaccurate assessment was made by the Department?
A: Substantial evidence of an inaccurate assessment will be limited to evidence that a fine was issued in excess of statutory authority, regulation or based on incorrect information.
Q11: What evidence will be considered in order to determine lack of prior use?
A: Substantial evidence of lack of prior use shall include proof that the unit was not capable of being operated at the time that the fine was assessed. The fact that the unit was rarely or never used will not be considered as a mitigating factor.
Q12: What evidence will be considered in order to determine a de minimis risk of injury to the public?
A: Substantial evidence of de minimis risk of injury to the public shall include proof that the elevator was inaccessible to the public.
Q13: I am an individual who owns the elevator(s). What documentation must I submit to prove financial hardship?
A: You must at least submit (1) a listing of all assets and liabilities greater than $1,000, including valuations for any companies owned; (2) an affidavit from you or your representative asserting that payment of the fine would cause severe financial hardship; and (3) any and all other documentation you would like the Department to consider.
Q14: I am a corporate entity, organization, municipality, or religious institution that owns the elevator(s). What documentation must I submit to prove financial hardship?
A: You must at least submit (1) a current annual operating budget; (2) a listing of all assets and liabilities greater than $1,000; (3) an affidavit from the owner or the owner’s representative asserting that payment of the fine would cause severe financial hardship; and (4) any and all other documentation you would like the Department to consider.
Q15: If my fine is upheld on appeal, when is payment due?
A: If a fine is upheld on appeal, payment is due within 30 days of the date of the decision.
Q16: Will the Department allow extensions of time within which to pay?
A: The Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee may allow an extension of up to six months from the date of the decision in only those cases where the owner has submitted evidence of financial hardship pursuant to 520 CMR 16.03(5)(g).
Q17: My appeal was denied and I filed an appeal under M.G.L. c. 30A. Is my fine stayed?
Q18: How do I request a hearing after receiving a written decision upon administrative review?
A: Hearing requests must be in writing, include the case docket number and should be addressed to:
Civil Fine Administrator
Department of Public Safety
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108