NEW YORK STATE
MULTIPLE DWELLING LAW
Chapter 713 of the Laws of 1929, as amended
NON-FIREPROOF MULTIPLE DWELLINGS
Section 140. Application of article five.
Section 141. Height
142. Sub-curb uses.
143. Construction of first floor.
144. Egress from dwellings.
146. Egress from apartments.
147. Bulkheads and scuttles.
148. Public stairs.
149. Public halls.
150. Cellar and basement stairs.
151. Spaces under stairs.
Sec. 140. Application of article five.
The provisions of this article shall apply to non-fireproof
multiple dwellings erected after April eighteenth, nineteen
hundred twenty-nine, and to such dwellings only. They shall apply
to all such non-fireproof dwellings unless their application is
expressly limited to dwellings of a particular class. They shall
apply in addition to, and not in substitution for, the provisions
of article three. However the provisions of this article shall
not apply to a multiple dwelling three stories or less in height
to be 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,
provided however that all the provisions of article six are
complied with, including section one hundred seventy-a of said
Sec. 141. Height.
Any such dwelling which is seventy-five feet or less in height
above the curb level and has six stories or less may be of non-
Sec. 142. Sub-curb uses.
1. When such a dwelling is more than eighty feet in height
measured from the lowest point of the yard or of any curb on
which any part of the dwelling faces, whichever is lower,
and any room in such dwelling below the level of the highest
curb which any part of such dwelling faces is occupied for
living purposes as permitted in paragraph f of subdivision
one of section thirty-four, the yard at the level of such
highest curb shall be set back so as to be at least eight
feet greater in depth than the yard below such level unless
the yard opens directly upon a street.
2. If such a dwelling is erected upon an interior lot running
through from street to street, the wall of the dwelling
facing the lowest street shall, at the level of the highest
curb on which any part of such dwelling faces, be set back
at least eight feet.
3. The setback of the yard or wall required by each of the two
preceding subdivisions shall be a fire-terrace. Nothing
herein contained shall be construed to permit a yard of
smaller dimensions below the level of such fire-terrace than
required by paragraph f of subdivision one of section thirty-
4. From each apartment below the level of such highest curb at
least one means of egress shall lead directly to such fire-
terrace in a manner approved by the department. Such fire-
terrace shall be protected by a guard railing approved by
the department, and shall afford safe and unobstructed
access either directly to a street or to a covered fireproof
passage at least three feet in width and seven feet in
height leading directly and without obstruction to a street.
5. In all portions of such dwellings below the level of the
highest curb all structural members, partitions, furrings
and ceilings shall be constructed of incombustible
6. Apartments may also be occupied for living purposes in
cellars and basements in accordance with the provisions of
subdivision six of section thirty-four.
Sec. 143. Construction of first floor.
1. The first floor above the lowest cellar, or, if there be no
cellar, above the lowest story, shall be fireproof or, if
the dwelling be three stories or less in height, fire-
retarded. Said first floor shall be unpierced except for a
stair leading to a cellar as provided in section one hundred
fifty, for lawful pipes, conduits and ducts and for
dumbwaiter and elevator shafts. Any such dumbwaiter and
elevator shafts shall be equipped at all openings below the
said first floor with fireproof doors and assemblies with
the doors self-closing.
2. Whenever the lowest cellar does not extend over more than
half the area of the dwelling, that portion of the first
floor directly over such cellar and the entire second floor
above such cellar shall be constructed as in this section
prescribed for the first floor above the lowest cellar.
Whenever the lowest cellar extends over more than half, but
not all, of the area of the dwelling, only that portion of
the first floor directly over such cellar need be
constructed as in this section prescribed for the first
floor above the lowest cellar.
Sec. 144. Egress from dwellings.
1. A dwelling three or more stories in height shall have at
least two means of egress extending to the roof from an
entrance story, street, court or yard. The entrances to such
means of egress at every story shall be at least fifteen
feet distant from each other unless they are on opposite
sides of a public hall. One means of egress shall be a stair
constructed as provided in section one hundred forty-eight.
The other means of egress shall be either another such stair
or a fire-escape constructed as provided in section fifty-
2. If the number of living rooms on any story, or in any
section of any story, above the entrance story exceeds
twenty, there shall be an additional stair, or fire-stair,
extending from the entrance story to the roof for each
twenty rooms or fraction thereof on such story or section
thereof in excess of twenty, except that no additional
stair, or fire-stair, shall be required for such excess on
any story or section thereof if the number of living rooms
thereon does not exceed thirty and if in addition one stair
serving such story or section and every entrance hall or
other public hall connected therewith are everywhere four
feet six inches or more in clear width.
3. There shall be accessible from every apartment two means of
egress from the dwelling, one of which shall be a stair
within fifty feet from a means of egress from such
apartment. For such dwellings erected under plans filed in
the department after September first, nineteen hundred fifty-
one, such stair shall also be enclosed and comply with the
provisions of section one hundred forty-eight.
4. Whenever more than two stairs are required, one or more of
such stairs may be fire-stairs or fire-towers, provided that
there shall never be more than one such fire-stair or fire-
tower for each two other required stairs.
Sec. 145. Fire-escapes.
Every fire-escape shall be located, arranged, constructed and
maintained as provided in section fifty-three.
Sec. 146. Egress from apartments.
1. There shall be at least two means of egress from every
apartment or suite. Such means shall be remote from each
other. Except where it opens into a stair as permitted in
subdivision three, one means shall be to a public hall
connecting with a stair, fire-stair or fire-tower, not more
than fifty feet distant from such means. In dwellings
erected under plans filed in the department after September
first, nineteen hundred fifty-one, such stair, fire-stair or
fire-tower shall be enclosed. The other required means of
egress shall open either directly upon a fire-escape or
directly on a fire-tower balcony or a public vestibule or
other public hall connecting with a stair, fire-stair or
2. Except as hereinafter provided for dwellings two stories or
less in height such balcony, vestibule, hall or stair shall
be separated from the public hall or stair on which the
first means of egress opens by a fireproof wall, unpierced
unless by an opening equipped with a fireproof door and
assembly with the door self-closing. Such door shall not be
held open by any device whatever. In a dwelling two stories
or less in height, the separating wall may be fire-retarded
on both sides in lieu of being fireproof.
3. In a dwelling three stories or less in height and occupied
by four families or less on each story, and in any section
of a class A dwelling which is two stories or less in height
and occupied by four families or less on each story, a means
of egress from an apartment may open directly into a stair
without the intervention of a public hall.
Sec. 147. Bulkheads and scuttles.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision two of this
section, every required stair, fire-stair and fire-tower in
dwellings three stories or more in height shall have a
bulkhead constructed as provided for fireproof dwellings in
section one hundred four, except that the bulkhead of any
required stair which is not required to be fireproof may be
built of wood covered on the outside with twenty-six gauge
metal and on the inside with wire or metal lath covered with
two coats of cement plaster or other fire-retarding material
approved by the department.
2. Such a dwelling which is two stories or less in height, or
is three stories in height and erected pursuant to plans
filed with the department on or after May first, nineteen
hundred fifty-nine and occupied by not more than one family
on each story, shall be provided at each required stair,
fire-stair or fire-tower either with such a bulkhead or with
a scuttle at least two feet by three feet in size, located
in the ceiling of the public hall on the top story and so
arranged as to provide direct and uninterrupted access to
the roof. Every such scuttle shall be arranged to be readily
opened, shall be covered on the outside with metal and shall
be provided with stairs or a stationary iron ladder or
ladders leading thereto and easily accessible to all the
tenants of the dwelling.
3. No bulkhead or other superstructure on the roof shall be
used for human occupancy.
4. When a dwelling has a pitched or sloping roof with a pitch
or slope of more than fifteen degrees, no bulkhead or
scuttle or stair or ladder leading thereto shall be
Sec. 148. Public stairs.
1. Every stair, fire-stair and fire-tower shall, except as
otherwise provided in subdivisions three and four of this
section and section one hundred forty-nine, be constructed
as provided for fire-stairs in sections one hundred two and
one hundred five for fireproof dwellings.
2. Every stair, fire-stair and fire-tower shall be at least
three feet in clear width throughout, and at all floor
levels shall have landings at least three feet six inches in
3. Every stair, fire-stair and fire-tower shall be completely
separated from every other stair, fire-stair and fire-tower
and from every public hall and shaft by fireproof walls,
with fireproof doors and assemblies, with the doors self-
closing and without transoms, at all openings, except that
in dwellings two stories or less in height such walls may be
fire-retarded on both sides in lieu of being fireproof. The
doors giving access to such stairs shall not be held open by
any device whatever.
4. Except in the case of an interior enclosed stair separated
from and directly accessible to the public hall by a self-
closing fireproof door and except as provided in subdivision
five, there shall be provided to light and ventilate every
stair at every story a window or windows opening on a
street, court, yard or space above a setback. At least one
such window shall be at least two feet six inches wide and
five feet high unless it opens on a street, in which case
its minimum height shall be four feet. The aggregate area of
such window or windows at each story shall be at least
eighteen square feet. On the top story a ventilating
skylight may be substituted for a window. At the entrance
story or at the roof level a sash door, such as described in
section thirty-five, opening to the outer air may be
substituted for such window.
5. In a dwelling occupied by two families or less on every
a. If such dwelling is three stories or less in height,
there may be provided for any stair, in lieu of
windows, a stairwell sixteen inches or more in clear
width extending from the entrance story to the roof.
b. If such dwelling is a class A dwelling and is two
stories or less in height, there may be provided for
any stair, in lieu of windows, a stairwell six inches
or more in clear width. For the purposes of this
paragraph a section of a class A multiple dwelling may
be deemed a separate multiple dwelling.
c. If such dwelling is two stories in height and has no
public hall on the first story, no stairwell or stair
windows need be provided.
Sec. 149. Public halls.
1. Every public hall shall be everywhere at least three feet in
2. Every public hall shall be completely enclosed with
fireproof floor, ceiling and walls, and, in dwellings
erected under plans filed in the department after September
first, nineteen hundred fifty-one, such hall shall be
separated from every stair by fireproof partitions or walls.
All doors and their assemblies opening from such hall or
stairs shall be fireproof, with the doors self-closing and
without transoms, except that in a dwelling three stories or
less in height occupied by not more than four families on
each story, or in a class A dwelling or any section thereof
two stories or less in height, any such hall which furnishes
access to only one stair need not be separated from such
stair by any partition or door and the walls of a public
hall may be fire-retarded and the floors may be provided
with three inches or more of incombustible deafening
materials between the beams instead of being fireproof.
3. Except in dwellings three stories or less in height and
occupied by two families or less on every story, and except
as provided in subdivisions four to seven inclusive, every
public hall shall have at least one window opening directly
upon a street or upon a lawful yard or court. There shall be
such a window at the end of each such hall and at right
angles to its length, with an additional window in each
forty feet of hall or fraction thereof beyond the first
sixty feet from such end window; or the hall shall have one
window opening directly upon a street or upon a lawful yard
or court in every forty feet of its length or fraction
thereof measured from one end of the hall.
4. When the length of any recess or return off a public hall
does not exceed twice the width of such recess or return, no
window shall be required therein. But whenever the length of
a recess or return exceeds twice its width, there shall be
an additional window or windows meeting the requirements for
a separate public hall. No entrance hall shall have a return
or recess which exceeds in length twice its width.
5. The foregoing provisions of this section with regard to
lighting and ventilation shall not apply to a vestibule or
other public hall which serves as a means of access from one
or more apartments opening thereon to a fire-stair or fire-
tower meeting the requirements of section one hundred forty-
four if such vestibule or public hall is lighted and
ventilated as required for fireproof dwellings by sections
thirty-seven and one hundred seven.
6. The foregoing provisions of this section with regard to
lighting and ventilation shall not apply to that portion of
an entrance hall between the first flight of stairs and the
entrance provided the entrance door contains five square
feet or more of glazed surface or such entrance hall does
not extend from the outer entrance of the dwelling more than
7. A passenger elevator vestibule not exceeding in length twice
the parallel length of the elevator shaft or shafts opening
into it need not be equipped with a window if it conforms to
the requirements of sections thirty-seven and one hundred
seven for public halls in fireproof multiple dwellings.
Every door and its assembly separating such a vestibule from
any public hall connected with a stair, fire-stair or fire-
tower shall be fireproof, with the door self-closing and
glazed with good quality wire glass ten square feet or more
in area. No such door shall be kept open by any device
8. Any part of a public hall that is shut off from any other
part of such hall by a door or doors shall be deemed a
Sec. 150. Cellar and basement stairs.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, there shall be
no inside stair communicating between the lowest cellar or
the lowest story, if there be no cellar, and the floor next
above, but any stair communicating between such floors shall
be located outside the dwelling and if enclosed shall be
fireproof in a fireproof enclosure with fireproof doors and
door assemblies, with the doors self-closing, at all
2. This provision, however, shall not apply to any stair not
extending through more than one story and leading from an
entrance hall to the upper stories where the walls enclosing
such hall are fireproof and unpierced except for openings to
stairs, elevators, apartments, public reception rooms,
professional offices and the outer air. In no event shall
there be any other opening from such an entrance hall, and
all apartments and such professional offices opening
therefrom shall be entirely separated from any space within
such dwelling used for any other purposes by fireproof walls
which shall be unpierced except for means of egress into the
entrance hall. The provisions of this subdivision shall not
apply to openings which are protected with fireproof
vestibules. Any such vestibule shall have a minimum
superficial floor area of fifty square feet and its maximum
area shall not exceed seventy-five square feet. It shall be
enclosed with incombustible partitions having a fire-
resistive rating of three hours. The floor and ceiling of
such vestibule shall also be of incombustible material
having a fire-resistive rating of at least three hours.
There shall be two doors to provide access from the entrance
hall and any other space not used for openings to stairs,
elevators, apartments, public reception rooms and the outer
air. Each such door shall have a fire-resistive rating of
one and one-half hours and shall be provided with a device
to prevent the opening of one door until the other door is
entirely closed. One of these doors shall swing into the
vestibule from the entrance hall and the other shall swing
from the vestibule into space which it serves. Such
vestibule shall also be equipped with sprinklers and with an
independent exhaust duct having a minimum cross-sectional
area of one hundred forty-four square inches for each one
thousand cubic feet, or fraction thereof, of air content,
and such exhaust duct shall not be connected with any other
3. In dwellings three stories or less in height which are
occupied by two families or less on every story, any stair
leading to the cellar may be located inside the dwelling
provided it is entirely enclosed with fireproof walls and
with fireproof doors and door assemblies at both the cellar
level and the story above, with the doors self-closing.
4. The provisions of subdivision one shall not prohibit or
apply to an inside stair extending from a space used for
commercial purposes in the cellar or lowest story to a store
on the story next above, provided such stair is of
incombustible materials, has closed risers, is enclosed
between the two lowest floors with walls having a three-hour
fire resistive rating and has fireproof doors and door
assemblies at top and bottom, with the doors self-closing,
and provided such commercial space in the cellar or lowest
story is completely enclosed with partitions having a fire-
resistive rating of at least two hours and there is no
opening between the store on the story next above and any
entrance hall or other public hall or public portion of the
Sec. 151. Spaces under stairs.
1. It shall be unlawful to have a closet of any kind under any
2. The space beneath every stair from the foot of the stair to
a point where the soffit is four feet or more above the
floor shall be entirely enclosed with unpierced fire-
retarded partitions. Such enclosure beneath a flight of
public stairs leading from the entrance story to the story
next above shall be fireproof.
3. Any unenclosed portion of the space beneath a flight of
public stairs leading from the entrance story to the story
next above shall be left entirely open and kept clear and
free from encumbrance.
Sec. 152. Fire-stopping.
1. In every wall where wooden furring is used every course of
masonry from the under side to the top of any floor beams
shall project a distance of at least two inches beyond each
face of the wall that is not on the outside of the dwelling;
and whenever floor beams run parallel to a wall and wooden
furring is used, every such beam shall always be kept at
least two inches away from the wall, and the space between
the beams and the wall shall be built up solidly with
brickwork from the under side to the top of the floor beams.
2. Whenever a wall is studded off, the space between an inside
face of the wall and the studding at any floor level shall
be fire-stopped. Every space between beams directly over a
studded-off space shall be fire-stopped by covering the
bottom of the beams with metal lath and plaster and placing
a loose fill of incombustible material at least four inches
thick on the plaster between the beams, or hollow-burned
clay tile or gypsum plaster partition blocks, at least four
inches thick in either case and supported by cleats, shall
be used to fill the spaces between beams.
3. Partitions which are not parallel with the wood floor beams
and which separate one apartment or suite from another or
any part of an apartment or suite from a public hall or
other part of the dwelling outside the apartment or suite
shall be filled in solidly with incombustible material
between the floor beams from the plate of the partition
below to the full depth of the floor beams.
4. If a dwelling is within ten feet of another non-fireproof
building or of a side lot line, such dwelling shall have its
eaves or cornices built up solidly with masonry.
5. The wooden frames in any cornice on any row of buildings
shall be separated between buildings by a complete fire-
6. Every space between stair carriages of any non-fireproof
stair shall be fire-stopped by a header beam at top and
bottom. Where a stair run is not all in one room or open
space, the stair carriages shall have an intermediate
firestop, so located as to cut off communication between
portions of the stair in different rooms or open spaces. The
underside and stringers of every unenclosed stair of
combustible material shall be fire-retarded.
7. All partitions required to be fire-retarded shall be fire-
stopped with incombustible material at floors, ceilings and
roofs. Fire-stopping over partitions shall extend from the
ceiling to the underside of any roofing above. Any space
between the top of a partition and the underside of roof
boarding shall be completely fire-stopped.
Sec. 160. Water-closets.
Water-closet compartments in class B non-fireproof multiple
dwellings shall comply with the applicable provisions of section