Knowing your rights as a tenant in New York City will save you from unrealistic expectations and headaches when looking for an apartment in the big city. We outlined 9 things that are allowed and not allowed in a Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens resident apartment.
Title 27 outlines the legal requirements for construction and maintenance for the “building code of the city of New York.”
What is a legal bedroom in NYC?
To have a “bedroom” in New York City, it must satisfy these legal requirements according to section §C26-1205.7 of Title 27 subchapter 11:
- Minimum dimensions of habitable rooms. Habitable rooms shall have a minimum clear width of eight feet in any part; a minimum clear area of eighty square feet and a minimum clear ceiling height of eight feet for the minimum area, except:
- A room which complies with the requirements for natural light and ventilation and in addition has an opening of not less than sixty square feet into an immediately adjoining room may have a minimum floor area of seventy square feet and a least horizontal dimension of seven feet;
- A dining space which has legally required ventilation, and in which the window has an area of at least one-eighth the floor area of such dining space;
- One-half the number of bedrooms in a dwelling unit containing three or more bedrooms may have at least minimum dimension of seven feet;
- A room in a class B multiple dwelling as defined in section four of the multiple dwelling law which may have a minimum floor area of sixty square feet and at least horizontal dimension of six feet.
What a landlord is required to provide
A landlord is required to provide you with the basic necessities to live in an inhabitable home or apartment. Here’s what they have to provide:
1. Continuous amenities
If you were provided amenities when you moved in and it breaks, the landlord is required to fix it. A dishwasher, as an example, must be replaced or fixed. Otherwise, the tenant may qualify for a rent credit.
2. Fire safety and carbon monoxide detectors
There must be at least one carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector in each apartment. For larger living areas, apartments are required to have self-closing doors and a fire escape plan. It’s illegal to lock a fire escape window with a key lock or double cylinder lock.
3. No pests in the property
It’s likely that you have seen a bug or two in your apartment from time to time. Landlords are, however, required to maintain a livable environment without rodents or cockroaches for their tenants.
If mice, rats, and/or roaches are still around in either an apartment or common area, it will result in a Class C (immediately hazardous) violation.
For bedbugs, New York State law required landlords to disclose infestation history dating back to one year.
4. Heat, and hot and cold water
Landlords are required to offer air heat to their residents that’s above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Tenants should also have hot and cold running water.
5. Windows and/or lighting
Every room, including kitchens and bathrooms, has to “have at least one window opening directly upon a street or upon a lawful yard, court, or space above a setback upon the same lot.” It is illegal to offer a residential room without a window.
6. A lockable front door with a peephole
A locked door is a safety concern and should be taken very seriously. A peephole allows the resident to know who’s outside before opening the door. A chain door latch should be included as well, so the tenant can partially open the door to outside people.
7. Finished walls
Paint or wallpaper must be on the walls and must be replaced every 3 years. All costs are paid by the landlord unless a tenant asked for a specific color, then the price can be passed to the tenant. No lead paint is allowed on the walls.
8. Window guards
Window guards are required for all residents with 10-year-old children or residents who will have 10-year-old children visit them.
9. Mail service
Landlords are required to upkeep approved mailboxes for tenants or arrange for mail to be delivered to them.
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