Site Map

Translate This Page

Housing Maintenance Code

CHAPTER 2
HOUSING MAINTENANCE CODE

[table of contents]

SUBCHAPTER 3
PHYSICAL AND OCCUPANCY STANDARDS FOR DWELLING UNITS

ARTICLE 5
Occupancy of Cellars and Basements

Section
27-2081 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in Multiple Dwellings; General Requirements
27-2082 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in any Multiple Dwelling with "Adequate Adjacent Space"
27-2083 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in Multiple Dwellings Erected after April 18, 1929
27-2084 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in Converted Dwellings
27-2085 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in New Law Tenements
27-2086 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in Old Law Tenements
27-2087 Occupancy of Cellars and Basements in One- and Two- Family Dwellings
27-2088 Powers of the Board of Standards and Appeals: Cellar and Basement Occupancies


Sec. 27-2081 Occupancy of cellars and basements in multiple dwellings; general requirements

No dwelling unit in a cellar or basement of a multiple dwelling shall be occupied unless:

  1. Such cellar or basement is properly lighted and ventilated to the satisfaction of the department; and

  2. Except for rooms occupied in accordance with section 27-2082 of this article, cellar walls and ceilings are constructed of light-colored material, or are thoroughly whitewashed or painted a light color and are so maintained; such whitewash or paint shall be renewed as required by the department, whenever necessary in the opinion of the department; and

  3. Such cellar or basement is free from dampness. In all new law tenements or multiple dwellings erected after April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine, and in all other dwellings whenever the department determines that the subsoil conditions on the lot so require, the cellar or other lowest floor and all exterior walls shall be dampproofed and waterproofed to the height of the ground level; and

  4. Every yard, court, or other required open space on the same lot as the dwelling containing a dwelling unit in the cellar or basement is adequately drained to the satisfaction of the department; and

  5. Such dwelling unit complies with all of the applicable requirements of the multiple dwelling law and of this code for dwelling units which are not located in the cellar or basement of the dwelling, except where more restrictive standards are required in this article.
 

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2082 Occupancy of cellars and basements in any multiple dwelling with "adequate adjacent space"

A dwelling unit in the cellar or basement of a multiple dwelling may be occupied if all of the following requirements are met:

  1. Every room has a minimum height of eight feet in every part in dwellings erected after July first, nineteen hundred fifty-seven, and of seven feet in dwellings erected prior thereto.

  2. Every room has at least one-half of its height in every part above the highest level of an "adequate adjacent space." As used in this section an "adequate adjacent space" is an area outside the dwelling which:

    1. is thirty feet in its least dimension,

    2. is located on the same lot as the dwelling or in a street or public place,

    3. is open and unobstructed, except as provided in subdivision nine of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law, and
    4. abuts at the same level, or directly below, every part of the exterior walls of every dwelling unit located on the same floor.

  3. The bottom of such "adequate adjacent space" is at a level no higher than six inches below the sill of any required window opening on such space.

  4. Whenever the floor of any part of the dwelling unit is below the level of such "adequate adjacent space," either the ceiling, walls and partitions of the dwelling unit are fire retarded or the dwelling unit is equipped with a sprinkler system in a manner satisfactory to the department.

  5. The entire cellar or basement in which the dwelling unit is located complies with all requirements of the multiple dwelling law with respect to fire protection and to means of egress, including cellar and basement stairs and cellar entrances.

  6. A cellar occupied hereunder for dwelling purposes shall be counted as a story for the purpose of the requirements of the multiple dwelling law with respect to means of egress, but shall not be counted as a separate story for the purpose of determining when a dwelling must be of fireproof construction.
 

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2083 Occupancy of cellars and basements in multiple dwellings erected after April 18, 1929

Except as provided in subdivision d of section 27-2082 of this article, no dwelling unit in the cellar or basement of a multiple dwelling erected after April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine may be occupied unless:

  1. Every room in a dwelling erected after July fourteenth, nineteen hundred sixty-seven has a minimum height of eight feet, and in dwellings erected prior thereto has a minimum height of nine feet in every part, except that four beams each not more than twelve inches wide may extend a minimum of six inches below the basement ceiling.

  2. Every part of the ceiling of every such room is above the height of the curb level directly in front of each such part by not less than:

    1. Four feet six inches for a room in a dwelling unit located in the front of the dwelling, or

    2. Two feet for a room in a dwelling unit located in the rear of the dwelling. If the yard is sixty feet or more in depth, this requirement does not apply.

      Height above curb level is measured on the street on which the dwelling fronts.

  3. The level of any yard or court upon which a required window opens conforms to the requirements of subdivision eight of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law.

  4. Every room has at least one window opening upon a street, yard or court and is a part of a dwelling unit containing at least one room with a window opening upon a street or yard.

  5. A required window in every room shall comply with the provisions of subdivision c of section 27-2058 of article one of this subchapter, except that the total area of all windows in such room shall be at least one-eighth of the floor area of the room and the top of each window shall be located not more than one foot from the ceiling.

  6. Except as provided in subdivision g, not more than one apartment, as recorded in the certificate of occupancy, shall be located in the cellar unless the yard is sixty feet or more in depth. Such apartment shall contain no more than five rooms and a bathroom and shall be occupied either by the janitor or a rent-paying tenant, if no member of the family is under the age of sixteen years. No required window in any room of such apartment shall open upon a court less than five feet in width.

    Every part of the apartment shall be:

    1. Within twenty-five feet of the inner surface of the front or rear wall of the dwelling, or

    2. Have a window opening upon a court of the dimensions provided in subdivision seven of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law but in no event shall such court be less than ten feet in width.

  7. A maximum of three additional rooms may be located in the cellar exclusively for the use of persons regularly and continuously employed in the maintenance of such dwelling. Each such room:

    1. Shall be completely separated from any other room or private hall;

    2. Shall have access to at least one bathroom without passing through the apartment provided for in subdivision f; and

    3. Shall comply with the provisions of subdivision f for required windows.
Sec. 27-2084 Occupancy of cellars and basements in converted dwellings
  1. Except as provided in 27-2082 of this article, no dwelling unit in the cellar of a converted dwelling may be occupied for living purposes unless:

    1. The yard adjoining such dwelling unit; has a minimum depth of thirty feet or more at every point; is open and unobstructed except as permitted by subdivision nine of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law; and abuts the exterior wall of such dwelling at a level no higher than the floor of any room contained in the dwelling unit; and

    2. The department determines that the dwelling unit is habitable.
      Such a cellar shall be deemed a basement for the purpose of all requirements of the multiple dwelling law and of this code.

  2. Except as provided in section 27-2082 of this article, no dwelling unit in the basement of a converted dwelling may be occupied unless:

    1. Every living room has a minimum height of seven feet in every part; and

    2. Every living room has at least one window which complies with the provisions of subdivision b of section 27-2059 of article one of this subchapter, except that the top of at least one window shall be a minimum of six feet above the floor, or if the room does not comply with the foregoing provisions of this paragraph two, it complies with the provisions of subdivision c of section 27-2059 of article one of this subchapter.

  3. The basement of a dwelling converted in accordance with the provisions of subdivision four of section one hundred seventy-seven of the multiple dwelling law may be occupied only if the dwelling is classified and recorded in the department as such a converted dwelling prior to January first, nineteen hundred sixty-six.

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2085 Occupancy of cellars and basements in new law tenements

Except as provided in section 27-2082 of this article, no dwelling unit in the cellar or basement of a new law tenement may be occupied unless:

  1. Every room has a minimum height of nine feet in every part.

  2. Every part of the ceiling of every such room is above the height of the curb level directly in front of each such part by not less than:

    1. Four feet six inches for a room in a dwelling unit located in the front of a dwelling, or

    2. Two feet for a room in a dwelling unit located in the rear of a dwelling.
      If the yard is sixty feet or more in depth this requirement does not apply.
      Height above curb level is measured on the street on which the dwelling fronts.

  3. The level of any yard or court upon which such a room opens conforms to the requirements of subdivision eight of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law.

  4. Every room has at least one window opening upon a street, yard or court and is a part of a dwelling unit containing at least one room with a window opening upon a street, yard or outer court with either:

    1. A minimum width of eighteen feet and a maximum depth of thirty feet, or

    2. A depth which does not exceed the width by more than one-half.

  5. A required window shall comply with the provisions of subdivision b of section 27-2060 of article one of this subchapter, except that the total area of all windows in a room shall be at least one-eighth the floor area of the room and the top of each window shall be located not more than one foot from the ceiling.

  6. Not more than one apartment, as recorded either in the certificate of occupancy or legally existing and recorded in the department prior to nineteen hundred twenty-nine, shall be located in the cellar unless the yard is sixty feet or more in depth. Such dwelling unit shall contain no more than five rooms and a bathroom and shall be occupied either by the janitor or a rent-paying tenant if no member of the family is under the age of sixteen years. No required window in any room of such apartment shall open upon a court less than five feet six inches in width. Every part of such dwelling unit shall be located within twenty-five feet of the inner surface of the front or rear wall of the dwelling or shall have a window opening upon a court not less than twelve feet in width.

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2086 Occupancy of cellars and basements in old law tenements
  1. No dwelling unit in the cellar of an old law tenement may be occupied unless it complies with the requirements of sections 27-2082, 27-2083, 27-2085 of this article or all of the following provisions:

    1. Every room has a minimum height of eight feet in every part.

    2. In every room of a dwelling unit located at the front of the dwelling, every part of the ceiling is at least four feet above the surface of the street in front of every such part.

    3. In a dwelling unit located in the rear, every room has at least one-half of its height in every part above the highest level of an adjoining space which: Abuts every part of the exterior wall of such room; has a minimum dimension of thirty feet measured at a right angle to the outer surface of such wall; and is open and unobstructed, except as permitted in subdivision nine of section twenty-six of the multiple dwelling law.

    4. Every room has at least one window opening upon a street, yard or the adjoining space required in paragraph three and at least one-half of every such window shall open.

  2. No dwelling unit in the basement of an old law tenement may be occupied unless it complies with the requirements of sections 27-2082, 27-2083, 27-2085 of this article, subdivision a of this section, or all of the following provisions:

    1. Every room has a minimum height of seven feet, six inches in every part.

    2. Every room has at least one window opening upon a street, a yard with a minimum depth of twelve feet or a court with dimensions of not less than six feet by twelve feet. Such room is a part of a dwelling unit containing at least one room with a window opening upon a street or such a yard.

    3. At least one-half of a required window shall open.

  3. A room in the basement of an old law tenement may be occupied by a family solely in conjunction with their occupancy of the entire story above, if such room has a minimum height of seven feet in every part and is not occupied for sleeping purposes.

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2087 Occupancy of cellars and basements in one- and two-family dwellings
  1. Cellar occupancy:

    No room in the cellar of a one- or two-family dwelling shall be rented and no member of the family or families occupying the dwelling shall use such room for sleeping, eating or cooking purposes, except that a secondary kitchen for accessory cooking may be located in the cellar.

  2. Use of basement by occupants of the dwelling:

    A room in the basement of a one- or two-family dwelling may be occupied for living purposes by members of the family or families in conjunction with their occupancy of the dwelling if the following conditions are met:

    1. Such room complies with all of the requirements of this code for rooms which are not located in the cellar or basement; except that the minimum ceiling height required in one family dwellings shall be seven feet.

    2. Whenever the department determines that the subsoil conditions on the lot so require, the basement or other lowest floor and all exterior walls as high as the ground level shall be dampproofed and waterproofed.

  3. Rental of basement:

    An apartment, in the basement of a one-family dwelling may be occupied, unless otherwise prohibited under the zoning resolution of the city of New York, if it meets the requirements of subdivision b and all of the following conditions:

    1. Such basement occupancy is limited to one family which, for the purposes of this section, shall not include boarders.
    2. Every room shall have a window complying with the requirements of section 27-2062 of article one of this subchapter.

    3. The bottom of any yard or other required open space shall be no higher than six inches below the window sill of any required window in any room.

  4. Conversion to multiple dwelling. No private dwelling of more than three stories in height which was erected after April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine shall be converted to a multiple dwelling unless it complies with all the provisions of the multiple dwelling law applicable to dwellings erected after April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine.

[back to top]

Sec. 27-2088 Powers of the board of standards and appeals; cellar and basement occupancies

The board of standards and appeals shall have those powers and authority as set forth in section three hundred ten of the multiple dwelling law.

[back to top]

 

NYC.gov Always Open Go to: NYC.gov Home | Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map