Permits for apartment renovation in NYC

After the move - September 24, 2019

Renovating our apartment is something we all wish to do, at some point. Perhaps we want to take down a wall or build one. Perhaps we would like to add a room. Or a bathroom. Or even combine apartments. Possibilities are quite numerous but there is something that keeps us in check. Permits for apartment renovation. If you are moving to New York, and wish to renovate your apartment, you will need to acquire them.

Depending on what work you need to do in the apartment, there are numerous permits that you might need. We will try to explain these a bit further and provide you with a solid knowledge base so you can renovate in peace. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Permits for apartment renovation – The law

The law says that you need special permits if you want to conduct any of the following:

  • Adding or removing a wall
  • Reconfiguring or adding a room
  • Making a new bathroom
  • Combining two or more apartments
  • “Gut” Renovations
statue of justice
Make sure you are always on the right side of the law!

Now, it’s important to note that sometimes you might not require a permit for some of these cases, such as removing a wall, for example. The specifics are kind of weird, to be honest, so we will not go into detail.

Adding or removing a wall

Let’s say that you moved into a new office located at Park Slope. Your Park Slope movers moved all the stuff and you find yourself needing to add a wall in order to fit everything in properly. In most of the cases, you will not need a permit for building a wall in your office but you want to be sure. Head on over to the government office and see if you need a permit for what you need to do. In most cases, you will.

Reconfiguring or adding a room

If you are doing anything like adding a room or changing the original number of rooms, you will need a permit. This permit is typically an Alteration Type 2 for these cases but it might vary depending on the work. You see, all of the rooms in the apartment have requirements. These requirements range from air and light to minimum room size. You cannot create additional storage space, which is lightless, this way. There are also some other, miscellaneous, codes that the room needs to comply with as well. Needless to say, NYC takes its rooms very seriously, and you might get into a lot of trouble if you do not inform the government about changing them.

room with a potted plant
If you are adding a room, it has to meet the minimum requirements.

Permits for apartment renovation – Making a new bathroom

This is one of the renovations for which you will definitely need a permit, guaranteed! This is due to all of the water that will be flowing through, in new ways. It is quite difficult to do and many buildings in NYC have a policy of not allowing this particular work. As far as permits go, this would also be an Alteration Type 2. Make sure to check if there is established policy in your building, if you live in one, before you even go and ask for a permit.

Combining two or more apartments

When it comes to NYC, combining two or more apartments is really common. The permit that you want for this particular task is TPPN 3/97. It covers all the rules that concern combining two or more apartments. You will also not need a new occupancy certificate, in most cases.

Also, your architect must file a standard Alteration Type 2 permit. Apartments must be adjacent to each other, either horizontally or vertically on not more than two floors. Note that you also cannot change the means of egress when you combine apartments. You can only have one kitchen remaining once the merge is complete. All you need to do after that is host a great housewarming party! Oh, but you need to make sure to follow all of these instructions, and perhaps even additional ones before you completely finish with the renovation. Otherwise, your hard work might be for nothing. And that is something that we all dread. Better to be safe than sorry.

“Gut” Renovations

You may have heard the term “Gut” renovation before and you might not know what exactly it means. It is quite simple, the term means basically doing everything from scratch. There are many permits that you might need in a gut renovation, depending on the type and place of the apartment. In most cases, a simple Alteration Type 2 is enough to get you started.

Permits for apartment renovation - empty big apartment
Apartments need to be adjacent to one another, either horizontally or vertically.

Permits for apartment renovation – Miscellaneous

There are some other renovations that might require a permit, but it is always best to speak to an architect about them. There are also some situations where you might need additional work. One of these cases is asbestos testing. You see, if you are planning to renovate a building that was built anytime before 1st of April 1987 you need to test for asbestos in every area that is going to be affected by renovation work.

Then there are landmark apartment renovations. These special cases occur when you are about to renovate in a landmark building. In these cases, you need to file with LPC (Landmarks Preservation Commission). Do not be afraid, it is quite possible to get a permit to renovate in these buildings, as long as it is limited to interior work. If you want to renovate anything on the outside, well, you’re going to have a hard time. However, your application will still need to be processed and that can take quite some time, even if no exterior work.

But what you can do is apply for a special certificate, which name is “Expedited Certificate of No Affect”, if your apartment is both on the third story or above and you are not doing any work on the exterior. These types of certificates get approved really quickly.

When it comes to permits for apartment renovation in NYC, there can certainly be a lot of fuss and paperwork and hoops to jump through. However, most of the time you can quickly go about your business and happily renovate to your heart’s content. Just remember to file for the permits!

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