NYC Apartment Renovation Laws

by | Last updated Jul 10, 2020 | Apartment Renovations

NYC apartment renovations typically need to be filed as An Alteration Type 2 with the NYC Department Of Buildings by a Registered Architect.

List of some examples of projects that require permits for apartment renovations in NYC:

  • Building or Removing Walls
  • Adding Rooms or Re-configuring Rooms
  • Adding a Bathroom
  • Combining apartments
  • Apartment Gut Renovations


Building a Wall, Removing a wall, & Moving Walls in NYC

If you are renovating and you are adding a wall or removing a wall you will most likely need to file for permits.


Adding Rooms, Re-configuring Rooms, or Changing the Room Count

When you are adding a room, changing the number of rooms in an apartment, or rearranging the rooms by demolishing or building walls you will definitely need a permit. Typically we (Architects) file an Alteration Type 2 for this type of work. The new rooms will have to comply with light and air requirements, minimum room sizes, and some miscellaneous codes.


Adding a bathroom to an NYC apartment

Adding a bathroom in NYC will definitely need permits. I have done this several times we file this work as an Alteration Type 2. Many buildings do not allow this. I recommend speaking to your management company before you do anything to see if they have a policy.


Combining Apartments in NYC

In NYC Combining Apartments is quite common. TPPN 3/97 covers the rules for combining 2 or more apartments without getting a new certificate of occupancy. Here are a few key points:

  • Architect Must File Alteration Type 2 with NYC DOB
  • Apartment must be adjacent or vertically on only 2 floors
  • You cannot change the means of egress
  • You must end up with only one kitchen
  • For Condos You must File with DOF for a new tax lot


Apartment Gut Renovations

Gut Renovations is a term for basically redoing everything. In a gut renovation you will need to get permits. Typically an Alteration Type 2.


Other Apartment Renovations

If you are not sure if your renovation needs a permit you should speak with an architect. You can talk us or you can go to the Department Of Buildings Homeowners Night and ask them.


Asbestos Testing

When renovating in a building built before April 1st 1987 you must test for asbestos in the areas to be disturbed by the renovation.


Landmark Apartment Renovations

If your work is in a Landmark Building it may need to be file with the Landmarks Preservation Commission or LPC. Apartment Renovations in Landmark Buildings are usually easy to get approved by LPC if there is no exterior work. If your apartment is above the second story, and you have no exterior work, you can apply for an Expedited Certificate of No Affect which is usually approved quickly.


Condo and Co-Op Renovation Rules

Aside for the Department OF Buildings you will need to deal with your building Condo Or CoOp board and the management company. Some buildings have strict rules about what type of work is allowed you will want to check with them to see their policies. Make sure to read your Alteration Agreement.


Thank You for reading our Blog Post on Apartment Renovation Laws.

Please feel free to post questions or comments below. If you are interested in discussing a specific project please contact us directly.

Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.