The City of New York

About the NYC Housing Maintenance Code

The New York City Housing Maintenance Code (HMC) establishes the minimum standards for health and safety, fire protection, light and ventilation cleanliness, repair and maintenance and occupancy in residential dwellings in New York City. The reader is advised these are MINIMUM standards and have little correlation to what most people would consider acceptable standards.

Read below index for important tips and notes regarding the Housing Maintenance Code.

[Subtitle 1:] Subchapter 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
[Article __:] Article 1: General Provisions
[Article 10:] Article 1: Obligations of Owner and Tenant; Duty to repair
[Article 11:] Article 2: Cleaning
[Article 12:] Article 3: Painting
[Article 13:] Article 4: Extermination and Rodent Eradication
[Article 14:] Article 5: Collection of Wastes
[Article 15:] Article 6: Water Supply
[Article 16:] Article 7: Sewers and Drainage
[Article 17:] Article 8: Heat and Hot Water
[Article 18:] Article 9: Gas Appliances
[Article 19:] Article 10: Artificial Lighting
[Article 20:] Article 11: Protective Devices and Fire Protection
[Article 21:] Article 12: Miscellaneous Services and Facilities
[Article 22:] Article 13: Janitorial Services
[Article 30:] Article 1: Lighting and Ventilation
[Article 31:] Article 2: Sanitary Facilities
[Article 32:] Article 3: Kitchens and Kitchenettes
[Article 33:] Article 4: Minimum Room Sizes and Occupancy Regulations
[Article 34:] Article 5: Occupancy of Cellars and Basements
[Article 35:] Article 6: Vacant Multiple Dwellings
[Subtitle IV:] Subchapter 4: ADMINISTRATION
[Article 40:] Article 1: Powers and Functions of the Department
[Article 41:] Article 2: Registration
[Article 50:] Article 1: Enforcement Actions and Proceedings in General
[Article 51:] Article 2: Civil Penalty
[Article 52:] Article 3: Criminal Penalty
[Article 53:] Article 4: Injunctive Relief
[Article 54:] Article 5: Repairs by Department
[Article 55:] Article 6: Receivership
[Article 56:] Article 7: Vacate Order
[Article 57:] Article 8: Recovery of Expenses
[Article __:] Article 9: Withdrawal of Single Room Occupancy Dwelling Units from The Rental Market Prohibited

HMC Tips and Notes

The HMC is administered by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), however HPD's force of inspectors has been gutted over the years where it is largely ineffective. During Heating Season (Oct. to May), when the emphasis is on heat and hot water, without a court-ordered inspection, it may be difficult to get an inspection in any reasonable time.

The HMC does not replace or substitute for other codes relating to buildings in general (Building Code, Fire Code, Health Code, or the various rent laws). There is also overlap of the HMC with the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law.

If tenants can obtain an inspection, it is always advisable to cooperate fully with the inspector(s), however the tenant should be cognizant that over the years inspectors (and not just from HPD) have fallen prey to bribes from landlords and superintendents. The tenant should always keep an eye on the inspectors and never let them alone with the owner or super.

If possible, when the inspector arrives, have at least two tenants present, a camera to take photos of the problem(s) and (politely) inform the inspector that you will follow up shortly with their supervisor to obtain a copy of the inspection report (and make sure you do so). Make sure you get the inspector's name and badge number.

It may take a week or two for the violation to appear on the HPD computer, so don't try to get it the next day. Also be aware that some conditions may indeed not rise to the level of violation. Inspectors generally do not care about the drinking habits or harassment by the super; they are concerned about the facts -- the conditions for which they may issue violations.

You may obtain certified copies of inspection reports from HPD. It used to be that the cost was $5.00 per page. We had heard that someone took HPD to court on that and won -- which should result in a fee closer to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) standard of $0.25 per page, but we've also heard that Mayor Guiliani ordered a fee of $30 to get copies of violations and inspection reports. You should be able to obtain a free copies from your local City Councilperson, State Senator or State Assemblyperson (it may take longer though).

In addition to the problems about which you've complained, inspectors are supposed to check for: smoke detectors, double cylinder locks (where a key is needed to operate the lock from both sides of the door), and illegal fire gates (the type on which a lock may be placed).

We recognize that some tenants prefer double cylinder locks and fire gates which may be secured by a lock, but these are illegal and inspectors will issue a violation if present This will give a landlord -- who otherwise may not provide heat or hot water -- an excuse to take you to court for a so-called tenant-caused violation. It may be better to remove these devices prior to a visit from the inspector.

Every attempt has been made to conform to the original document; TenantNet makes no representation the enclosed material is current or will be applied as written. The reader is advised that government agencies often fails to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws. Since housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or community group.

NOTE:This edition of the Housing Maintenance Code also includes amendments to the code made by Local Law 44 of 1988, which was enacted July 11, 1988. The State Legislature, pursuant to Chapter 907 of the Laws of 1985, repealed, reenacted and renumbered the Administrative Code of the City of New York, and pursuant to Chapter 839 of Laws of 1986, made certain technical corrections and changes to the recodified code, of which the Housing Maintenance Code is a part. For your convenience, this edition contains the old section numbers of the Housing Maintenance Code shown in brackets, followed by the new section numbers. In addition, we have also included in this volume a two-part conversion table beginning on page 101 which lists former to current and then current to former section numbers for this code. The Table of Contents lists old and new major headings. Editorial notes pointing out discrepancies between the former code and the recodified version not specifically indicated as changes, or references to Local laws that have amended the code since recodification, are indicated with asterisks and corresponding footnotes at the bottom of the page. Obvious errors (such as misspellings) are noted within the text with a [sic] following the particular word.

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