Sec. [D26-1.01] 27-2001 Short Title.
This chapter shall be known
and may be cited as the "housing maintenance code."
[D26-1.03] 27-2002 Legislative declaration.
It is hereby found that the
enforcement of minimum standards of health and safety, fire protection, light and
ventilation, cleanliness, repair and maintenance, and occupancy in dwellings are necessary
to protect the people of the city against the consequences of urban blight. The sound
enforcement of minimum housing standards is essential:
- to preserve decent housing;
- to prevent adequate or
salvageable housing from deteriorating to the point where it can no longer be reclaimed;
- to bring about the basic
decencies and minimal standards of healthful living in is already deteriorated dwellings,
which although no longer salvageable, must serve as habitations until they can be
In order to accomplish
these purposes, and following a review of existing housing standards in the light of
present needs, and a reexamination of methods of administration, including legal sanctions
and remedies, to assure the effectiveness of enforcement, it is hereby found that the
enactment of a comprehensive code of standards for decent housing maintenance, imposing
duties and responsibilities for the preservation of the dwellings in the city upon owners
and tenants, as well as on the municipality itself, enforceable by a broad range of legal,
equitable and administrative powers, is appropriate for the protection of the health,
safety and welfare of the people of the city.
[D26-1.05] 27-2003 Applicability
The provisions of this
chapter, except as otherwise provided, apply to all dwellings.
[back to top]
[D26-1.07] 27-2004 Definitions.
a. The following terms, as
used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings:
- The term department shall
mean the department, bureau, division or other agency charged with the enforcement of this
- Wherever the word or words
occupied, is occupied, used or is used appear such word or words shall be construed as if
followed by the words "or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or
- A dwelling is any building
or structure or portion thereof which is occupied in whole or in part as the home,
residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings.
- A family is (i) a single
person, or (ii) two or more persons related by blood or marriage, occupying a dwelling
unit and maintaining a common household with not more than two boarders, roomers or
lodgers; or (iii) not more than three unrelated persons occupying a dwelling unit and
maintaining a common household. A boarder, roomer or lodger is a person who pays a
consideration for living within the household and does not occupy such space as an
incident of employment. Foster children lawfully living with the family in accordance with
the provisions of the social services law are considered to be members of the family. A
common household is deemed to exist if every member of the family has access to all parts
of the dwelling unit.
- "Person," for the
purposes of article four of subchapter three of this chapter, means any adult or child
over the age of four years. The term "person" as used in subchapters four and
five of this code shall include the owner, mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of
rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, agent or any other person, firm or corporation
directly or indirectly in control of a dwelling or part thereof. Whenever a multiple
dwelling shall have been declared a public nuisance to any extent pursuant to section
27-2114 of article one of subchapter five of this chapter and such declaration shall have
been filed as therein provided, the term "person" shall he deemed to include in
addition to those mentioned hereinabove, all the officers, directors and persons having an
interest in more than ten percent of the issued and outstanding stock of the owner as
herein defined, as holder or beneficial owner thereof, if such person be a corporation
other than a banking organization as defined in section two of the banking law, a national
banking association, a federal savings and loan association, the Mortgage Facilities
Corporation, Savings Bank Life Insurance Fund, The Savings Banks Retirement System, an
authorized insurer as defined in section one hundred seven of the insurance law, or a
trust company or other corporation organized under the laws of this state all the capital
stock of which is owned by at least twenty savings banks or by at least twenty savings and
loan associations or a subsidiary corporation all of the capital stock of which is owned
by such trust company or other corporation.
- A private dwelling is any
building or structure designed and occupied for residential purposes by no more than two
families. Private dwellings shall also be deemed to include a series of one-family or
two-family dwelling units each of which faces or is accessible to a legal street or public
thoroughfare, if each such dwelling unit is equipped as a separate dwelling unit with all
essential services, and if each such unit is arranged so that it may be approved as a
legal one-family or two-family dwelling.
- A multiple dwelling is a
dwelling which is either rented, leased, let or hired out, to be occupied, or is occupied,
as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other. A
multiple dwelling shall also include residential quarters for members or personnel of any
hospital staff, which are not located in any building used primarily for hospital use, but
any building which was erected, altered or converted prior to July first, nineteen hundred
fifty-five, to be occupied by such members or personnel or is so occupied on such date
shall not be subject to the requirements of this code only so long as it continues to be
so occupied if there are local laws applicable to such building and such building is in
compliance with such local laws. A multiple dwelling does not include (i) a hospital,
convent, monastery, asylum or public institution; or (ii) a fireproof building used wholly
for commercial purposes except for not more than one janitor's apartment and not more than
one penthouse occupied by not more than two families. For the purposes of this chapter,
multiple dwellings are divided into two classes: "Class A" and "Class
- (a) A Class A multiple
dwelling is a multiple dwelling which is occupied, as a rule, for permanent residence
purposes. This class shall include tenements, flat houses, maisonette apartments,
apartment houses, apartment hotels, bachelor apartments, studio apartments, duplex
apartments, kitchenette apartments, garden-type maisonette dwelling projects, and all
other multiple dwellings except Class B multiple dwellings. (b) A garden-type maisonette
dwelling project is a series of attached, detached or semi detached dwelling units, which
are provided as a group collectively with all essentials services such as, but not limited
to, water supply and house sewers, and which units are located on a site or plot not less
than twenty thousand square feet in are under common ownership and erected under plans
filed with the department on or after April eighteenth, nineteen hundred fifty four, and
which units together and in their aggregate are arranged or designed to provide three or
- A Class B multiple dwelling
is a multiple dwelling which is occupied, as a rule, transiently, as the more or less
temporary abode of individuals or families who are lodged with or without meals. This
class includes hotels, lodging houses, rooming houses, boarding houses, boarding schools,
furnished room houses, lodgings, club houses, and college and school dormitories.
- A converted dwelling is a
dwelling (i) erected before April eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine, to be occupied
by one or two families living independently of each other and subsequently occupied as a
multiple dwelling or (ii) a dwelling three stories or less in height erected after April
eighteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-nine, to be occupied by one or two families living
independently of each other and subsequently occupied by not more than three families in
all, with a maximum occupancy of two families on each floor in a two story building and
one family on each floor in a three story building. A converted dwelling occupied as a
Class A multiple dwelling is a Class A converted dwelling; every other converted dwelling
is a Class B converted dwelling.
- A tenement is any building
or structure or any portion thereof; erected before April eighteenth, nineteen hundred
twenty-nine, which is occupied, wholly or in part, as the residence of three families or
more living independently of each other and doing their cooking upon the premises and
includes apartment houses, flat houses and all other houses so erected and occupied,
except that; tenement shall not he deemed to include any converted dwelling. An old law
tenement is a tenement existing before April twelfth, nineteen hundred one, and recorded
as such in the tenement house department before April eighteenth, nineteen hundred
twenty-nine, except that it shall not be deemed to include any converted dwelling.
- A hotel is an inn having
thirty or more sleeping rooms.
- Dwelling unit shall mean any
residential accommodation in a multiple dwelling or private dwelling.
- Apartment shall mean one or
more living rooms, arranged to be occupied as a unit separate from all other rooms within
a dwelling, with lawful sanitary facilities and a lawful kitchen or kitchenette for the
exclusive use of the family residing in such unit.
- Rooming unit shall mean one
or more living rooms arranged to be occupied as a unit separate from all other living
rooms, and which does not have both lawful sanitary facilities and lawful cooking
facilities for the exclusive use of the family residing in such unit. It may be located
either within an apartment or within any Class A or Class B multiple dwelling. A rooming
unit shall not include a living room in a Class B hotel or any other dwelling complying
with section 67 of the multiple dwelling law and so classified and recorded in the
- Rooming house shall mean a
Class B converted dwelling with more than half of the rooms in rooming units.
- Single room occupancy is the
occupancy by one or two persons of a single room, or of two or more rooms which are joined
together, separated from all other rooms within an apartment in a multiple dwelling, so
that the occupant or occupants thereof reside separately and independently of the other
occupant or occupants of the same apartment. When a Class A multiple dwelling is used
wholly or in part for single room occupancy, it remains a Class A multiple dwelling.
- A lodging house is a
multiple dwelling, other than a hotel, a rooming house or a furnished room house, in which
persons are housed for hire for a single night or for less than a week at one time, or any
part of which is let for any person to sleep in for any term less than a week.
- Public hall shall mean a
hall, corridor or passageway within a building but outside of all apartments and suites of
- Public part of a dwelling
includes a public hall and any space used in common by the occupants of two or more
apartments or rooms, or by persons who are not tenants, or exclusively for mechanical
equipment of such dwelling or for storage purposes.
- Living room shall mean any
room within a dwelling unit except a dining space, kitchenette, bathroom or water closet
compartment, foyer or private hall, corridor or passageway.
- The floor area is the clear
area of the floor contained within the partitions or walls enclosing any room, space,
foyer, hall or passageway of any dwelling.
- Dining space shall mean a
space with 55 square feet or less of floor area, which has such permanent fittings as the
department requires, located off a living room, foyer or kitchen. A dining space includes
a dining bay, dining recess or dinette.
- Foyer shall mean a space
within a dwelling unit in multiple dwelling used as an entrance hall from the public hall,
which is not a living room when its floor area does not exceed either: (a) 10 per cent of
the total floor area of the dwelling unit: or (b) 20 per cent of such floor area, if every
living room is at least 20% larger than the required minimum room size.
- Kitchen shall mean a living
room used for cooking with 59 square feet or more of floor area.
- Kitchenette shall mean a
space used for cooking with less than 59 square feet of floor area.
- Dormitory shall mean a space
occupied for sleeping purposes by three or more persons who are not members of a family
maintaining a common household in: a. A lodging house, except for an apartment occupied
solely by an owner, janitor or superintendent; orb. A college or school dormitory legally
recorded and classified in the department prior to May 15, 1954, or converted to such use
prior to April 30, 1956; or c. A dwelling owned and operated by a religious, charitable or
educational organization for the purposes enumerated in section 27-2077 of article four of
subchapter three of this chapter; or d. A dwelling owned, operated or used for the
purposes enumerated in section 27-2077 of article four of subchapter three of this
- Premises shall mean land and
improvements or appurtenances or any part thereof.
- Structure shall mean a
building or construction of any kind.
- Alteration, as applied to a
building or structure, shall mean any change or rearrangement in the structural parts or
in the existing facilities of any such building or structure, or any enlargement thereof,
whether by extension on any side or by any increase in height, or the moving of such
building or structure from one location or position to another.
- A multiple dwelling is
fireproof if the walls and structural members thereof meet the fire resistive standards
set forth in subdivision 25 of section four of the multiple dwelling law. Any other
multiple dwelling is non-fireproof. A part of a dwelling is fireproof if it meets the
standard set forth in the multiple dwelling law for the corresponding part of a fireproof
- Fire-retarded shall mean
either covered with metal lath plastered with two or more coats of mortar or otherwise
protected against fire in a manner approved by the department with materials of standard
fire-resistive [sic] ratings of at least one hour. Fireproofing shall always be accepted
as meeting any requirement for fire-retarding.
- A rear yard is an open space
on the same lot with a dwelling between the extreme rear line of the lot and the extreme
rear wall of the dwelling. A side yard is a continuous open space on the same lot with a
dwelling between the wall of a dwelling and a line of the lot from the street to a rear
yard or rear line of a lot.
- A court is an open space
other than a side or rear yard, on the same lot as a dwelling. A court not extending to
the street or rear yard is an inner court. A court extending to the street or rear yard is
an outer court
- A story is a space between
the level of one finished floor and the level of the next higher finished floor, or, if
the top story, the space between the level of the highest finished floor and the top of
the highest roof beams, or, if the first story, the space between the level of the
finished floor and the finished ceiling immediately above. For the purpose of measuring
height by stories in multiple dwellings erected after April 18, 1929, one additional story
shall be added for each twelve feet or fraction thereof that the first story exceeds
fifteen feet in height, and for each twelve feet or fraction thereof that any story above
the first story exceeds twelve feet in height.
- Except as otherwise
provided, the curb level, for the purpose of measuring the height of any portion of a
building, is the level of the curb at the center of the front of the building; except that
where a building faces on more than one street, the curb level is the average of the
levels of the curbs at the center of each front. Where no curb elevation has been
established the mean level of the land immediately adjacent to the building prior to any
excavation or fill shall be considered the curb level, unless the city engineer shall
establish such curb level or its equivalent.
- A cellar in a dwelling is an
enclosed space having more than one-half of its height below the curb level. A cellar
shall not be counted as a story.
- A basement is a story partly
below the curb level but having at least one-half of its height above the curb level. A
basement shall be counted as a story.
- A shaft is an enclosed space
extending through one or more stories of a building connecting a series of openings
therein, or any story or stories and the roof, and includes exterior and interior shafts
whether for air, light, elevator, dumbwaiter or any other purpose.
- A stair is a flight or
flights of steps together with any landings and parts of public halls through which it is
necessary to pass in going from one level thereof to another.
- A fire-stair is a fireproof
stair, enclosed in fireproof walls, within the body of the building, which it serves, to
which access may be had only through self-closing fireproof doors.
- A fire-tower is a fireproof
stair, enclosed in fireproof walls, without access to the building from which it affords
egress other than by a fireproof self-closing door opening on a communicating balcony or
other outside platform at each floor level.
- A fire escape is a
combination of outside balconies and stairs providing an unobstructed means of egress from
rooms or spaces in a building.
- Window dimensions shall
always be taken between stop beads or, if there are no stop beads, between the sides, head
and sill of the sash opening.
- The term "owner"
shall mean and include the owner or owners of the freehold of the premises or lesser
estate therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver,
executor, trustee, lessee, agent, or any other person, firm or corporation, directly or
indirectly in control of a dwelling. Whenever a multiple dwelling shall have been declared
a public nuisance to any extent pursuant to section 27-2114 of article one of subchapter
five of this of this chapter and such declaration shall have been filed as therein
provided, and for the purposes of section 27-198 of article nineteen of subchapter one and
section 27-2093 of article one of subchapter four of this code, the term "owner"
shall be deemed to include, in addition to those mentioned hereinabove, all the officers,
directors and persons having an interest in more than ten per cent of the issued and
outstanding stock of the owner as herein defined, as holder or beneficial owner thereof,
if such owner be a corporation other than a banking organization as defined in section two
of the banking law, a national banking association, a federal savings and loan
association, The Mortgage Facilities Corporation, Savings Banks Life Insurance Fund, The
Savings Banks Retirement System, an authorized insurer as defined in section one hundred
seven of the insurance law, or a trust company or other corporation organized under the
laws of this state all the capital stock of which is owned by at least twenty savings
banks or by at least twenty savings and loan associations or a subsidiary corporation all
of the capital stock of which is owned by such trust company or other corporation.
- Summer resort dwelling shall
mean a dwelling located in a summer resort community, which is occupied in whole or in
part for living purposes only for a seasonal period of the year between June 1 and
September 30, other than by the family of the owner or the family of a caretaker.
- This code shall mean the
housing maintenance code.
b. Except as otherwise
provided herein, all terms used in this chapter shall be construed in a manner consistent
with their use in the multiple dwelling law.
[back to top]