Quality Housing Program NYC

by | Last updated Jun 12, 2020 | NYC Zoning, Property Development

The quality Housing Program is a set of zoning regulations that intend to maintain the existing character of neighborhoods by giving incentives to developers with potentially higher building floor areas. Quality Housing is mandatory in R6 through R10 contextual zoning districts and optional in all other R6 through R10 zones. The program sets higher standards for building development including additional bulk regulations and building amenities.


Quality Housing Program

Sometime people confuse the Quality Housing Program with the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are 2 different things. The Quality Housing Program has nothing to do with affordable housing. Although you can have an affordable housing development with Inclusionary Housing and Quality Housing..


Quality Housing Program Mandatory Zoning Districts

Quality Housing Program zoning regulations are mandatory in R6 through R10 contextual zoning districts. Here is a list of the mandatory contextual zones. Contextual zoning districts can easily be identified because they all end with a letter. These residential zoning districts that end with a letter are contextual zoning and require quality Housing. Zoning districts ending in an A, B, D, or X are contextual zoning districts in NYC.


Quality Housing Program Optional Zoning Districts

The Quality Housing Program is optional in applicable non contextual zoning districts. Here is a list of these zones.


Quality Housing Program NYC

What is the quality housing program?

The Quality Housing Program (QHP) was created as a response to Height Factor Zoning. Height Factor is based on the Tower In The Park building design idea. Height factor buildings tend to be tall and skinny. QHP was initiated to promote the development of shorter wider buildings that would more likely fit in to their surroundings. In many cases NYC Zoning offers slightly higher floor areas on quality Housing buildings. So a developer can get a larger building in square footage even though it may not be as tall. Quality Housing also has required setbacks which is a very typical New York architecture design.

Aside from the higher floor areas these building will have additional requirements but also zoning deductions.


Quality Housing Program Deductions And Requirements

There are additional zoning deductions that will allow a developer to make a larger building when using quality Housing. QHP also has additional requirements that increase the quality of the building. This is a trade off you make a better building and you get more floor area allowed by zoning.

Elevated Ground Floor Zoning Deduction

Quality Housing buildings with an elevated ground floor entered by stairs, ramp, or lift with apartments on the first floor can have some zoning deductions. This deduction can be applied to the entryway of the building. You can deduct 100 square feet for every 1 foot above the curb of the first floor. The maximum deduction is 500 square feet.

Example 1:

If the first floor is 3 feet above the curb you can deduct 300 square feet from the entryway or vestibule area.

Example 2:

If you are 6 feet above curb you can deduct up to 500 square feet because that is the maximum area allowed for this deduction.

This deduction cannot be applied to the apartments themselves or any other accessory space. It can only be applied to the entryway area. It can be used for a vestibule and front entrance for example. There is also a stipulation for Qualifying Ground Floor which can increase the building height for some buildings with elevated first floors.

Refuse storage and Disposal Requirement and Zoning Deduction

If you have more then 9 apartments in total per vertical circulation core you must provide garbage storage and disposal. One garbage storage space of 2.9 cubic feet must be provided per apartment. On every floor you must also have a minimum of 12 square foot trash room. 12 square feet of the trash room can be deducted from the zoning floor area.

Laundry Facilities Zoning Deductions

If you provided a laundry facility you can deduct the floor area of that space from the zoning floor area. To qualify you must meet the following criteria.

  • Minimum 1 washer per 20 Apartments.
  • Min 1 dryer per 40 apartments.
  • Min 3 square feet for chairs and laundry folding table.
  • Windows must be provided with a square footage of at least 9.5% of the laundry room floor area. Windows must face a street, yard, or court as defined in the zoning code.

Daylight In Corridors Zoning Deductions

If you provide a window in the public corridors you can deduct up to 50% of the floor area of such corridor. To qualify you must meet the following standards.

  • The window must be at least 20 square feet.
  • Glass must be clear, no tints.
  • The window must be visible from at least 50% of the corridor.
  • Windows must face a street, yard, or court as defined in the zoning code.

Density Per Corridor Zoning Deduction

50% of a corridor floor area can be deducted from the zoning floor area if you meet the following criteria. If the corridor serves less than a certain number of apartments per core. Here are the maximum number of apartments served by each corridor per floor.

  • R6 & R7 Zoning – 11 apartments
  • R8 Zoning – 10 apartments
  • R9 & R10 – 8 apartments

Parking Screening Requirement

If you provide parking it must be screened and not visible from the apartments, adjacent buildings, and the street.

Parking is not allowed in front of the building.


NYC Quality Housing Program

As an architect I study Zoning Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article we reviewed some of the basics with regards to the Quality Housing Program in NYC. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank You for reading our post in the NYC Quality Housing Program.

If you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. If you would like to speak with an architect familiar with the Quality Housing Program please feel free to contact us directly. We are happy to hear about your upcoming projects.


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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 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.