The NYC Charter: An Overview


The NYC Charter is the foundation of how our City functions and governs, and it has a direct impact on the way we live and work. 

The NYC Charter

The New York City Charter is the document that defines the organization, powers, functions, and essential procedures of the city government. It lays out the fundamental structure of our city’s government, controls how decisions are made, and details the budget towards projects in housing and education to human rights and emergency services.

The charter is divided into three sections:

Instructions and descriptions of the City’s elected officials

Instructions and descriptions of the City’s elected officials

Key government operations and processes

Key government operations and processes

City agencies, their organization, powers and duties

City agencies, their organization, powers and duties

Summary of Chapters

Read the New York City Charter online and learn more about Charter Revision at

Chapters 1-5

Roles and duties of the Mayor, City Council, Districting Commission, Borough Presidents, and Comptroller. Chapter 3 (Board of Estimate) was repealed.

Chapter 6-7

Format and allocation of the expense budget and procedures of administrative tax appeals and the tax commission.

Chapter 8: Housing & Land Use

Administration of the Department of City Planning, the City Zoning Resolution, criteria for citing city facilities, the Citywide Statement of Needs, Comprehensive waterfront plans, and the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).  

Chapter 9-15: Economic Equity

Power and duties of the Independent Budget Office, steps and regulations governing the budgeting process, an overview of procedures related to procurement.

Chapter 15-16: Housing & Land Use

Describes the acquisition and disposal of city-owned property and the duties of the Heads of mayoral agencies including planning, advising, program management, financial management, and contracting.

gency roles regarding Public Safety including the duties and oversight of the Law Department, Police Department, Civilian Complaint Review Board, and the Independent Police Investigation and Audit Board.

Chapter 19: Fire Department and Emergency Management Department

Creates the duties and oversight of these agencies.   

Chapter 20: Education Equity

Administration of the Board of Education, investigations, school security measures, and school property.

Chapter 21-22: Health, Mental Health, & Well-Being

Duties and oversight of the Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Sports Commission, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 

Chapter 23

Details work of the Office of Animal Welfare such as wildlife management and animal shelters.

Chapter 24: Health, Mental Health, & Well-Being; Housing

Oversight of the Department of Social Services including the Department of Homeless Services and the Administration for Children’s Services. 

Powers of the Department of Correction including the roles and responsibilities of its commissioner and deputies, the maintenance of buildings, and prisoner labor. 

Chapter 26: Housing & Land Use; Economic Equity

Administration of the Department of Buildings such as the conduct of investigations, appeals, inspection, Office of the Tenant Advocate, and building energy and emissions performance.

Chapter 27: Housing & Land Use; Infrastructure & Resiliency

Duties of the Board of Standards and Appeals which covers land use variances and special permits.

Chapter 28 – 29


Chapter 30

Power and duties of the Department of Youth and Community Development including the roles of deputies, the youth board, and the interagency coordinating council.

Chapter 31: Infrastructure & Resiliency

Power and duties of the Department of Sanitation that covers duties of the commissioner and obligations of property owners of vacant lots.

Chapter 32-33


Chapter 34

Duties of the commissioner and deputies of the Department of Investigation that covers the complaint bureau, conduct of investigations, public outreach and reporting.

Chapter 35: Infrastructure & Resiliency

Management and powers of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services including the CIty Civil Service Commission, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, examinations, appointments and promotions, and public buildings and facilities. 

Chapter 36: Economic Equity

Guidelines for the Equal Employment Practices Commission, which monitors the employment practices and programs of city agencies to maintain an effective affirmative employment program of equal employment opportunity for minority group members and women. 

Chapter 37: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

Duties of the Art Commission such as the maintenance, repair, removal and oversight of works of art.


Chapter 38-39

Oversight of the Financial Information Services Agency and the Office of Payroll Administration.

Chapter 40: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

The Declaration of Intent and function of the New York City Human Rights Commission and its relations with city departments and agencies.

Chapter 41-44


Chapter 45

Rules governing the City Administrative Procedure Act and the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Chapter 46-48: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

Regulations regarding Elections and Voter Assistance, Public Access to Meetings and Information, and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. 

Chapter 49-54

Oversight of regulations for Officers and Employees including Term Limits, Qualifications for Elected Office, Transitory Provisions, General Provisions, and Collective Bargaining.

Chapter 55

Power and duties of the Department of Design and Construction for public buildings, structures, and facilities.

Chapter 56: Economic Equity

Oversight by the Department of Small Business Services which include the Waterfront Management Advisory Board, Division of labor services and economic and financial opportunity, and youth workforce development 

Chapter 57: Infrastructure & Resiliency

Rules governing the Department of Environmental Protection including the Office of Environmental Remediation.

Chapter 58: Economic Equity

Operations of the Department of Finance such as real property tax assessment, tax rates, community investment advisory boards, and contracts with collection agencies. 

Chapter 58-60


Chapter 61: Housing & Land-Use

Oversight of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development that includes acquisitions of real property, establishing affordable housing funds, and urban renewal data. 

Chapter 62


Chapter 63-65: Economic Equity

Duties of the Business Integrity Commission, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Chapter 66

Responsibilities of the Department for the Aging including maintaining a liaison with public housing authorities.  

Chapter 67: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

Management of the Department of Cultural Affairs such as maintaining a cultural plan, budget estimates of cultural institutions, and data on cultural institutions. 

Chapter 68-70

Regulations regarding Conflicts of Interest, Community Districts and Coterminality of Services, and City Government in the Community such as the governance  and duties of Community Boards. 

Chapter 71

Oversight of the Department of Transportation such as highway construction and obligations of property owners.

Chapter 72

Power and duties of the Department of Records and Information Services including archival review, reference, and research.

Chapter 73


Chapter 74

Regulations for the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the review of petitions and buildings’ certificates of appropriateness. 

Chapter 75

Operations of the Department of Veterans’ Services including powers and duties of the commissioner and the Veterans’ Advisory Board. 

Chapter 76: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

Oversight of the Civic Engagement Commission that includes assistance to community boards and cooperation with mayoral agencies. 

Chapter 77: Civic Empowerment & Engagement

Operations of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media that oversees City advertising on ethnic and community media, and assists other public entities like the Department of Education and New York City Hospitals for their advertising.