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Questions - Building Codes & Regulations

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•frequently asked questions  •ask a question  •questions by category •questions 900-949  •questions 850-899  •questions 800-849  •questions 750-799  •questions 700-749  •questions 650-699  •questions 600-649  •questions 550-599  •questions 500-549  •questions 450-499  •questions 400-449  •questions 350-399  •questions 300-349  •questions 250-299  •questions 200-249  •questions 150-199  •questions 100-149  •questions 50-99  •questions 1-49

 
Question #843: Can you tell me if it is legal for a super of a co-op to have a basement apartment in a co-op building. Our basement has windows that are actually at ground level. Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is legal, as long as the apartment is listed on the Certificate of Occupancy, and as long as it meets the building (and other applicable) codes. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #840: I received a safety notice in my apartment today that stated the building is non-fireproof. Is it safe to live on the 6th floor in a non-fireproof apartment building? Post your answer

Answer: "Fireproof" doesn't mean it's impossible to burn, it just means a building is built in such a way that it will catch fire less easily. Older buildings can't be described as fireproof; newer buildings are by code constructed in such a way that a major fire will have a harder time getting started and spreading. Anything will burn given high enough temperatures (remember the WTC on 9/11?) Is it safe to live in a building that isn't classified as fireproof? Is it safe to cross the street? Is it safe to ride in a car, a bus, a subway? It's all relative. You have to weigh your needs (or wants) against what's available or affordable and reach your own decision. Probably more important is the question of getting all the residents in your building educated about what starts fires, and if a fire does start, what do you do to get out and protect yourself and other residents. Here's a good PDF on residential building fire safety. Printing it out and giving copies to the head of each household in your building would be a good idea. Glen Stoltz

Question #832: In a New York City residential high-rise condominium, what constitutes a hallway obstruction - are door mats and wall hangings included? Is there a list? Post your answer

Answer: There is no list published that I am aware of. Put simply, anything in the way that a person can trip or fall over is considered a form of blocking egress, whether those items are movable or fixed. Wall hangings are not considered a trip or fall hazard, therefore as long as they do not stick out of the wall more then a normal 2 inches or so, they are not considered blocking egress. But again, as all answers that pertain to legal and code questions, this is our opinion based on experience. For the legal answer you should ask an attorney. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #829: I have a 3-family oil-heated house in Brooklyn and the FDNY just issued an ECB violation citing "Rule 3: Storing fuel oil without a valid fire department permit." I can't find any information whatsoever on the need for a permit. Is there such a thing? I'm wondering of the inspector just assumed I converted to gas and never removed the oil tank (not the case). Post your answer

Answer: If your fuel tank capacity is 1,100 gallons or more, or if you have more then one tank where the combined capacity is 1,100 gals or more; then you need to register the tank with the DEC. The FDNY requirement is a separate issue. Now, the code is very technical and over 200 words, too long to type here. Contact the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for more information. Lastly the penalty can be in the thousands of dollars a day (yes, a DAY). Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: While the last poster is correct about the DEC requirements and fines etc., I wouldn't be alarmed. I've never seen a 3-family with 1,100 gallons of oil in the basement. The FDNY requires you register, I think every 2 years - it doesn't cost a lot. If you do decide to convert to gas and get rid of the tanks make sure you file an affidavit with the FDNY though. Derek Bupp

Question #822: In New York City can a landlord deny certain tenants (rent stabilized), in a 5-floor walk-up, a washer and dryer if there is no laundry room in the building? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, a landlord can deny or not give approval for a tenant to install a dishwasher and / or washing machine in the apartment. In most leases this is written clearly. I have yet to see any lease that does not have a clause that prohibits washers. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #820: I live in a rental building that has signs clearly stating when garbage can be left by the freight elevator for pickup by the staff. These times are ignored by almost everyone on the floor and the garbage can sometimes be in the hallway for 5-6 hours. Does this violate any fire or sanitation code? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is actually a violation to leave the garbage in the hallway; in fact, nothing should be left in the hallway at all in the event of an emergency fire exit. So the fact of the matter is, floor mats, umbrella stands, bikes and baby strollers are not allowed. And the same can be said of exit stairwells. Roberto Cardona

Question #819: Is there such a thing as an FDNY-approved air conditioner for use in a fire escape window (these are studio apartments that have two windows side by side facing the fire escape)? Post your answer

Answer: The answer is No. You cannot put any a/c unit on a fire escape route. The a/c unit will interfere with your escape as well as when the unit extends out of the window it may interfere with the escape of others on the fire escape. For more info, call FDNY, Fire Prevention Unit, 9 Metro Tech, 718 992 2000. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #812: What date is the landlord required to turn the heat on? Post your answer

Answer: Heat requirements for New York City.

Question #811: Do you need a permit for wood stoves in New York State? Post your answer

Answer: In New York State - NO. However, your city or county may require a permit; the insurance company may also require it. Make sure you inform your insurance company that you are installing a wood stove. Naturally, you must follow the local building and fire codes when installing a wood burning (or any other) stove. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #809: A New York City building inspector gave me a notice of violation for a partition in my living room creating a living room and bedroom. The remedy requires me to obtain a permit or to restore the premises to its prior legal condition. I was told it may be an illegal partition. Firstly, who determines if the partition can remain in the apartment, and secondly, what are the necessary steps to cure this violation. Post your answer

Answer: Who determines if the wall remains? The City of New York makes this determination. You did not state if you own a co-op or condo or are a renter. In any case, you would have needed to follow the rules under the lease or co-op/condo proprietary lease, because these entities also have a say in whether the wall remains or goes. The cure: since you have a violation it's best to hire an expediter. You would need an architect or designer who has a license to draw up plans, and go downtown to the Department of Buildings to file. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #808: I've read question #756 regarding window air conditioner installation. I'm having a hard time locating the information you refer to regarding the use of brackets and how far the a/c unit extends from the window. Where can I see this information? I've read the Building Code and have searched the Department of Buildings website, but I find nothing specific about legal requirements on the installation of A/Cs. Under the building Code it just mentions appurtenances, but does not give exact details about brackets, etc. I've also read LL11 info, and there is nothing there either. Where can I find detailed information on the correct installation for window air conditioners that comply with LL11? Post your answer

Answer: It is under appurtenances. The building engineer is the one who can guide you as it is NOT written but it is given. 10 inches is the magic number. If the a/c unit extends 10 inches past the glass of the window, it would require brackets that rest on the building wall, or brackets from the inside securing the a/c unit from one side of the window main frame to the other - not to the window itself. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #807: I'm a New Jersey Black Seal license holder. Can someone tell me, if I want to work in a second job in New York as a boiler operator, what are the requirements? Post your answer

Answer: New York City requires that heavy oil "#6 oil" requires a Certificate of Fitness P-99 for the operator of the boiler. If the boilers use gas, or #2 or #4 - no certificate is required. If the boiler is combination gas and #6 a certificate of fitness is still required. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: For a start, see the answers in the Certificates Of Fitness & Exams Section of the Questions By Category.

Question #805: I live in a non-stabilized, non-controlled 4-unit rental building. We had a baby last November and are just getting window guards installed by our landlord.  According to NYC law, landlords may pass a $10 charge per guard per window on to tenants in controlled or stabilized buildings, but I cannot find anything outlining how much non-stabilized or controlled tenants may be charged.  My landlord expects that we will pay $60 per window on 5 windows for both the cost and installation of the guards (his choice, we found guards for 1/2 price he did). Is this within his rights to do? Post your answer

Answer: Sorry to say that the $10 per window guard rule only applies to rent controlled and rent stabilized tenants. So you will have to pay a fair price for it. Depending on the super's salary and cost of guards, what he is charging may be within reason. Not that I agree with it but that is the way it is. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #803: This question is related to Question #613. We have a serious rust corrosion condition at the base of our 18" six-story steel chimney stack. Our neighboring building's system has been merged into our stack for over 25 years. We've recently discovered they have installed a high condensing heating system that will surely disintegrate our already compromised stack. If they hedge (as they have been) on footing the bill for repair or separating their high condensing emissions, can we repair our base and cut them off to prevent accelerated corrosion? If so how do we go about this expeditiously? Post your answer

Answer: First of all, you have to establish that the chimney is owned by your building. Second, you need to establish if the building next door has ever received permission to share it. If you own the chimney outright, the cost of repair / replacement is yours. I cannot understand how permission to do what you have said was done. I don't believe a permit was given. You need to try to find out if there ever was a permit granted. I have not heard of sharing of a chimney. Beware trying to work this out before calling the Department of Buildings - once they come in, their findings will be final. If no permission and no permit was given, then your building has the upper hand. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #797: What is the maximum occupancy allowed in a one bedroom apartment? I have a child on the way and may have to break the lease agreement due to limited space. Will I be penalized for breaking the terms of the lease? Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, there is no occupancy maximum in New York City. Check your lease, however, because the least may indeed limit the maximum occupants in an apartment. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #793: We love to have plants and decorate the lobby. What does the law say about this in a four story building with 12 families. Post your answer

Answer: There is no law against plants in lobbies or public areas. As long as the plants are LIVE plants. If you are going to use fake plants, then those types must have a fire rating and be fireproof. The Fire Department has issues with Christmas trees only, due to the trees having been cut and as they dry out, become a fire hazard. So, Plant away! Please send me a picture, I love gardening. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #788: I'd like to know if there is any law that requires certain buildings to have live-in supers, as opposed to live out? Post your answer

Answer: The Codes state that a super should either reside in the building or with in 200 feet of it. The code states a minimum size building not how big.  Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: This question, and questions much like it, have been asked and answered many times. Do a site search for the answer or read the Frequently Asked Questions. Glen Stoltz

Answer: Click on the links on the homepage for the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law and the NYC Housing Maintenance. Code. You will find the answers there, in those laws and codes.

Question #785: I live in a co-op that approved a washing machine to be installed 2 years ago. Now they are saying that they did not approve it. I have gone through the motions, and they say that if the city inspector approves it, I can keep it. One of the board members says that a washing machine needs a drain under it. Is this true? I have seen many a washer in this city, and have never seen a drain under it. Also, I had an inspector in over a year ago, and nothing was said. He did not see the washer, but saw that there was going to be one there. Post your answer

Answer: If you have nothing in writing, you probably have no leg to stand on, as far as permission to install a washer. I'm almost positive you do NOT need a drain under a washer in ANY apartment situation. In my two year old building, we have washers installed in all apartments from the beginning - none of which have drains under them. But each washing machine is sitting inside a 2 inch high metal pan, which would take care of catching most leaks, at least for awhile, should they occur. Glen Stoltz

Question #783: Do I need brackets on a air conditioner that is on a fire escape, and it does not stick out beyond building? Post your answer

Answer: NO. Keep in mind that you must have access to the fire escape and the ac unit cannot block in any part the fire escape. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: See the answer to Question #756, you may find your answer there.

Question #780: I own a co-op in a four story Queens building and my neighbors, who refuse to use their air conditioner, constantly prop open their self-closing apartment door and place a child gate in the opening. Housing Maintenance Code states: no tenant, or any other person, shall: a. remove or render inoperative any self-closing device on any door which is required by any provision of law to be self-closing, or cause or permit such door to be held open by any device; Do I have any legal grounds to demand that my neighbors keep their apartment door closed? This issue is not addressed in our House Rules.  I called HPD but was unable to get a clear answer. Post your answer

Answer: Sounds like they are in violation of the fire code. You should let the managing agent know this. As a last resort you could call the Fire Department.

Question #777: Do you need a permit if you are tearing out old radiators to begin work on renovations? Post your answer

Answer: No permit is needed; however be advised if you building was built before 1980 then the contractor MUST follow the Lead Laws, when it comes to safe practice. Most likely the paint is lead paint. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #764: Is it considered a fire hazard and illegal to have a pilot lit gas cooking stove in an apartment in New York City? Post your answer

Answer:  No, it is not illegal, and they still make them. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #763: Can a tenant connect an antenna to a roof vent stacks, chimneys, or parapet walls? Post your answer

Answer: Most leases will say that the tenant cannot attach anything to the outside of the building or parts thereof, like TV antennas, radio antennas, or satellite dishes. So check your lease. If there is no prohibition written into the lease, then you might want to ask permission first before installing. I know in my building, the above are forbidden. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #760: Building inspectors declared my apartment illegal, how much time do I have to find a place to stay? Also should I be still paying rent to landlord who now states he is selling the house. Post your answer

Answer: I can not answer these questions since they mainly pertain to the law and not codes. My advice is to ask a lawyer. It would seem reasonable that you have at least 30 days to vacate. Moreover, since the apartment was illegal, why pay the rent. Again, a lawyer would answer these questions and perhaps you may have claims to refund of your prior rent to the owner since he was running an illegal operation. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #756: I thought I remember reading somewhere that window air conditioner installations now require a support bracket along the top of the unit so that the window is still operable. I have searched the NYC websites, but could not find verification. Can anyone confirm this? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, there is a law which is tacked on to Local Law 11. It is under Appurtenances only. You will not find it under Air Conditioning. Basically it states that an appurtenance, such as an Air Conditioning unit, that extends 10 inches or more past the window glass, must be supported by a bracket that is secured to the ac unit on one end and rests against the side of the building at the other end. If the unit is less the 10 inches past the glass, it may be installed by using a metal bar across the width of the window and secured to the window frame, but not the window itself. As always, check with your buildings architect about this. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #750: We have child safety bars installed in our apartment windows and when we requested that they be removed to accommodate an air conditioner we were told they cannot be removed once they are in. We don't have children and we weren't told when we moved in that they couldn't be removed. Is this true? Are there any other options to have them removed? Post your answer

Answer: Yes Peter is correct, they can be removed, child window guards are installed with one way screws, to avoid removal by the tenant. There are a couple of ways to remove the screws. They sell special one way screw drivers for such screws, or you can use a cold chisel to remove the heads of the screws, remove the child guard and then use vise grip pliers to remove the rest of the screw. Good luck Roberto Cardona

Answer: Whoever said they cannot be removed once they have been installed, is mistaken. The purpose of child guards are to protect young children. If you no longer have young children, then the guards can be removed. There is no such rule / code / law saying that once they are installed, they stay installed, even though there are no children living in the apartment. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #749: I have a connex box office on the outside of my building and I need 125 amp service (220V single phase power supply). I know I need to run #2 stranded copper, but what type of conduit would be suitable for above ground use to this building from the main building ? Post your answer

Answer: You will need to consult with a licensed electrician.

Question #748: What are the training requirements and the duties for a person hired as a fire watch? Post your answer

Answer: Fire guards are required in order to reduce the threat of fires in a variety of locations. For example, they are required in places of public assembly, hotels, film studios, construction sites, office buildings and marinas. Fire guards are used when a sprinkler system is not installed, e.g., at construction sites. Fire guards are also used when an automatic fire protection system is shut down while being repaired. The fire guards are responsible for making sure that fire safety regulations are obeyed. Fire guards must have a good working knowledge of basic fire fighting and fire protection techniques. They must know the location of all fire protection devices in their areas of responsibility. They must make sure that these devices are in good working conditions at all times. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #743: How often is a sprinkler system inspection required by the Fire Department for brownstone buildings? Post your answer

Answer: Brownstone or 70 story building are all the same. Sprinklers are to be inspected every month, using a check list by a holder of a certificate of fitness for sprinkler for your system. This inspection report must be posted near the main sprinkler control valve. Every Five years a pressure test is to be performed by a licensed plumber. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #736: My apartment is in a rent stabilized multiple dwelling (20 apartments, 4 on each floor) with no super. My question: Is it legal not to have an individual circuit breaker box in each apartment under NYC's law or not? The apartment has no breaker box, and the building has one in the basement (according to the management). Each time a fuse blows, I (or any tenant) have to call the office in Queens to request someone come to the building to reset the breaker. It is very tedious to go through the process. Many of the visitors to my apartment are surprised by the fact that there is no breaker box within the property, and they all say it may be illegal and I should contact NYC. Is it legal or illegal? Post your answer

Answer: No. It is not illegal. Most of the pre-war buildings were built that way due to the shortage of wiring, and the fact that electricity was mostly used for lights and very few appliances. The codes only refer to new construction and / or total rehabs. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #735: Can tenants say no thank you to window guards? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, some tenants can say no to window guards AS LONG as they do not have children under 10 years old living in the apartment or frequently visiting the apartment. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #727: Is there a NYC rule or regulation that mandates revolving door maintenance, and if so then what is the rule number? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, there is a code that requires all revolving doors to be inspected and certified twice a year. It is either an Administration Law /code or a BOCA Code. What the exact code numbers are, I do not know. If you wish to hire a firm that can inspect and send in the certification you can call: Roger Soucek, VP at Mac Kenzie Group. 212 227 1630 ex 347. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #722: I own a co-op in Manhattan and recently I was removing the carpet from all the floors in my apartment. The super told me that by New York city law all the apartments must be 75% covered with carpet. Is this correct? Post your answer

Answer: No, he is wrong. It is not a state or city code or requirement. However, in most leases, including co-ops and condos; there is a provision that would state that up to 80% of the space be carpeted. This does not include kitchens, baths, hallways or closets. Check you lease or the building bylaws. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #719: I am in the process of having LL11 (Local Law 11) work carried out. This includes removing the railings around my roof area. Knowing that the roof space should be accessible for emergency fire egress, will I be committing a violation if I lock the doors with padlocks in addition to the panic bar Detex units. Or does anyone know a solution to prevent residents being able to gain access to the roof space by pushing the panic bar. Post your answer

Answer: Failure to provide access to the roof is a hazard if there is a fire. Create a not so easy to remove barrier with signage short of the roof door, is my best idea. Dick Koral

Answer: Not just a hazard, but also a VIOLATION. It is a Fire Dept. and HPD violations. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #715: My thermostat is set for 70 degrees and tenants open windows shortly after that, allowing my energy to fly out the window because it gets extremely hot, so I drop the degrees to 69, then they complain that it doesn't kick on. The thermometer in the hallway almost always reads 72-75 degrees and there is a sensor in the 2nd floor of the building to command the thermostat to allow the boiler to go on when required. If the building temperature is 72-75 and the boiler does not kick on, must I go put it on manually and provide tenants with heat? Just trying to do what is right and at the same time avoiding heating complaints, not to mention that I'm fed up with phone calls regarding the same issue over and over again. Post your answer

Answer: You have not given enough specifics to really address and solve your problem. In larger buildings the heating system is not controlled by a thermostat specifically because of the problems you are having... i.e.   the thermostat does not really measure what needs to be controlled. Rather, the heat output is controlled by the OUTSIDE temperature, and then tweaked to your buildings actual needs. You may need t his type of control in your building. Joe Lambert, http://www.leonardpowers.com  

Answer: Your heating distribution system is obviously not working properly. You need professional help. I suggest you seek help from Association for Energy Affordability (www.aeanyc.org) a non-profit agency that addresses these problems. Dick Koral

Question #714: I recently bought a sponsor unit in a co-op in Manhattan. I'd like to open a door in one of the walls inside the apartment. Do I need a permit for that ? Post your answer

Answer: The answer is yes, though some people don't bother to get one. What is far more important, are some questions that need to be answered; Is it a bearing wall you are cutting into (you certainly don't want to make the newspapers with a building collapse - rare, but it happens)? What about utilities that might be running through the walls (water, electrical, gas, intercom, phone, etc.)? All these issues, and others have to be properly addressed. My final advice, hire an architect, let him or her assess the physical aspects of your project, obtain the proper permits, and communicate with your co-op board / management / superintendent with the scope of your project. Bill Aristovulos

Question #700: I live in an apartment in Port Henry, NY. My breaker box does not include my kitchen area. I do not have a master shut off switch. I have 8 breakers in the box. Is the set-up of this electrical system up to code? My concern is, if something catches fire in the kitchen, I have no way to turnoff the power source to the kitchen. Post your answer

Answer:  I have no idea what the law is in your community. What you describe sounds like a blatant violation of state law. Talk to your county authorities. Dick Koral

Question #696: Is it allowed to install a window that juts out - like a bay window - from the wall above stairs? Post your answer

Answer: In most townships, yes. But there would be a minimum height clearance. You would have to check with your town planner. Also if the window faces the street you may require a permit. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #692: What is the temperature your landlord is supposed to maintain in your apartment, day and night? Post your answer

Answer: Straight from the horse's mouth, New York City Rent Guidelines Board

Heat (During the heating season, October 1 through May 31)

*  Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., heat must register at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees;

*  Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., heat must register at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees.

Hot Water (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

*  Hot water must register at or above a constant temperature of 120 degrees at the tap.

*  If a tub or shower is equipped with an anti-scald valve that prevents the hot water temperature from exceeding 120 degrees, the minimum hot water temperature for that tub or shower is 110 degrees. Bill Aristovulos

Question #687: What requirement is there for discontinuing using an incinerator in an apartment house in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: I thought they were banned from New York City 20 years ago. Your best bet is to call an incinerator repair company and ask them. Controlled Combustion was a major repair company for incinerators, years ago. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #684: I live in a 70 apartment rental building in New York City. The landlord is painting the public areas. It appears the color scheme in the hallways will be a single color (yellow) for walls and apartment doors, which someone told me is against code, that doors should be readily distinguishable in a fire. Is this true? Post your answer

Answer: Not true. The code only says that the color should be a light color and contain no lead. That's it. Just be glad it's not going to be pink. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #681: We have a new landlord and he has someone come every three to four days to take out the garbage - that's all. The landlord says he is not getting a super to clean the premises at all. My worry is what if there is a real emergency, water leak etc, he gave us a cell number to call. Meanwhile Con Edison or Keyspan or any other vendor has no access to read the meters or such. Nobody came to clean the sidewalk when we had snow, and of course the heat he gives us the minimal amount of heat, just that the pipes going through the building are hot and not the radiators. Post your answer

Answer: Without knowing how many apartments in the building and city the building is located, I can not answer the question. There are codes that only affect certain size buildings, and these codes vary for city to city within New York State. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #668: I have a fire escape in my living room that is accessible via two side-by-side windows.  Can I have an air conditioner in ONE of the windows?  I've had one in for five years, now all of a sudden my landlord is claiming that I need to take it out.  NOTE:  It's permanently installed. Post your answer

Answer: Under normal circumstances you are permitted to place an a/c unit in a situation such as yours, PROVIDED that the ac unit does not interfere with the egress of the fire escape, i.e., it sticks out on to the fire escape causing a potential tripping or other hazard. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #668: I have a fire escape in my living room that is accessible via two side-by-side windows.  Can I have an air conditioner in ONE of the windows?  I've had one in for five years, now all of a sudden my landlord is claiming that I need to take it out.  NOTE:  It's permanently installed. Post your answer

Answer: Under normal circumstances you are permitted to place an a/c unit in a situation such as yours, PROVIDED that the ac unit does not interfere with the egress of the fire escape, i.e., it sticks out on to the fire escape causing a potential tripping or other hazard. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #666: Anyone know how to avoid installing a standpipe system in a residential building. I got a violation, but is there anyway around it? Post your answer

Answer: Yes there is a way, and that would be to FULLY sprinkler the building. However, this answer should be verified by hiring a professional standpipe / sprinkler firm to confirm my answer. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #665: Does a tenant need to have permission from the landlord and/or super before installing an FDNY approved gate on a window facing a fire escape? Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge the answer is no, no permission is needed, but it couldn't hurt to ask first. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #662: I was recently burglarized and it appeared that the perpetrator came in through the window covering the fire escape.  Fearing for my safety, I had a window guard installed over that window, HOWEVER, the guard is a special guard that has a latch that allows me to open it up and easily escape in case of a fire.  Is this a violation of NYC Health Code sect. 131.15 and can I get my landlord to reimburse me?  (NOTE: The officers that responded to the burglary (as well as myself) believed that it was an inside job thus, my super was a suspect.  This is why I hired an independent contractor to install the fire guard/window guard and not the landlord). Post your answer

Answer: It is not a violation of the health code. The landlord is not responsible for having the gate installed, thus it's your cost. My experience has always been, conveniently blame the super when there is a robbery in a building. Police are often the first to FALSELY suspect the super. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #653: I live in an old 5 floor walk-up in Queens and the building is heated by old heat risers (in the bathroom), which get very hot during the heating season but they are uncovered. I have small children in the apartment, are there any requirements (NYC/NYS code) to have them covered? Post your answer

Answer:  No. There are no requirements by law. You can buy a 4 foot section of pipe insulation from Home Depot for a few bucks which works well. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #646: Do landlords have to supply a working range stove (4 burners) and oven? My 4 burners are working, but my oven is not working. Post your answer

Answer: It should be in your lease what the landlord responsibilities are. If you have a rent stabilized lease, then yes, landlord is to provide working stove and oven. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #645: In the basement of our residential building, there is some work going on due to a renovation. There are two welders working on some metal ceiling frames for removable panels. Should they have any welding licenses to work? They work for a general contractor. Post your answer

Answer: If they are using electric welding, no license is needed. If they are using cutting torches then one of them needs a certificate of fitness from the Fire Dept. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #643: I am looking to move into an apartment with a very old kitchen and bathroom. I was wondering if the landlord is responsible to supply a new kitchen and bathroom before a new tenant moves into it. Post your answer

Answer: NO. Assuming your lease is a rent stabilized lease, landlords are only to provide a working kitchen and bathroom. They don't even need to paint it before you move in. Now, BEFORE you sign a lease, these are items you can NEGOTIATE. Don't be surprised if the landlord wants more money in rent if he does give you a new kitchen and bathroom. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #642: I am aware that landlords are required to maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating systems and appliances landlords install, such as refrigerators and stoves. However I continuously asked my landlord to either repair or replace my kitchen stove/oven unit as well as my refrigerator because of multiple problems with its operation. I was told that for an increase of 2.2% per month in my rent, until the appliances are paid in full, they would replace my appliances with new ones. And if I was to move I am not entitled to keep the appliances I had paid for. I wanted to know is this legal? Who is entitled to keep the appliances. Don't I deserve a fully functional appliances at my current lease rate even if I don't keep them? Post your answer

Answer: Your answer lies within your lease. If it is a rent stabilized lease, the landlord is to provide appliances that work. Landlords do not have to give you new appliances, even if they are 50 years old. They must give you ones that work. If an appliance cannot be repaired, the landlord can give you a USED one - they do not have to give you new ones. If the tenant request a new one, then the tenant has to pay, 1/40th of the cost as a rent increase and does not own the appliance. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Most leases spell out the landlord's obligation to provide a fully functioning refrigerator and stove - but not new ones. He provides them, he owns them. If he owns them he keeps them if you move, no matter whether or not your rent was increased by the allowable amount in exchange for providing new appliances. I believe the landlord is normally allowed to increase the rent to the amount allowed by law in perpetuity in exchange for providing you with new appliances. See New York City's Housing Maintenance Code and New York State's Multiple Dwelling Law for more detailed information. Glen Stoltz

Question #637: How would I find info on whether or not knife switch disconnect boxes have to be locked? Post your answer

Answer: Knife switch boxes do not have to be locked. They only have to be locked / tagged out when electrical work is being performed and that switch has to be switched off. This is in the new electrical codes soon to be accepted in New York City and also in OSHA regulations. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #633: I have a situation at my church that I need to rectify. We have many groups using the church and the boiler room is accessible to all that want to fool around in it. Am I allowed to have that door locked or is it a NYC code to have it locked? We have a boiler shutoff switch on the outside wall of the room and the door is self-closing, but does not lock. We have a gas fired system. I'm sure that in case of a fire, the firemen would not have a difficult time breaking into the room. Post your answer

Answer: You can lock the door. But you must provide access to Fire Department or City inspector, ergo a sign posted on the boiler room door saying "the key to the heating system area is located at _______ and with _______ and number where they can be reached is _________. Of course post the sign on the OUTSIDE of the boiler room door. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: There is no NYC requirement that boiler rooms be locked. Only that the door open out and be a self-closing fire-rated door. For security, you should have them put a lock on it. Jeff Eichenwald

Question #627: Is it OK to install electrical outlets into a 6" high stainless steel countertop backsplash. Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is. But make sure to use GFI outlets and make sure it is grounded well, due to the metal and the presence of water. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #626: I live in a 6 story co-op built in the early 1950's. We are planning an evening in our apartment for about 45 people. My wife is concerned the floor cannot hold that many people because the floors are very creaky and our downstairs neighbors hear us walking around. Should this be a concern? Are there laws regulating how many people can be in an apartment at one time? Post your answer

Answer: The one person that can answer that question would be the building engineer that the building has. Otherwise those numbers may be on the original blueprints. Floor loads vary from building to building and year to year. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #625:  NYC law does not allow an air conditioner to take the place of a window guard. Tenant wants an air conditioner in a room with one double-hung window and no fire escape. A 2 year old child lives in the apt. If I must install a window guard in this room, is it my problem that the tenant will not be able to use an air conditioner? If the tenant can have an air conditioner rather than a window guard, then how do I protect myself in the event that a future claim is made against me because no window guard is in that window? The tenant asks how to escape from a court yard airstack room that has only one double hung window and no fire escape if a window guard is permanently attached to the window frame. Post your answer

Answer: My opinion: have the a/c unit installed at the top of the window and the guards at the bottom. Best of both worlds. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #624: Where can I obtain Local Law 11 reading material. I would like to study it for my personal knowledge. Post your answer

Answer:  This Wednesday Nov. 16, the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) is hosting a seminar on "Understanding Local Law 11. It begins at 8:30 am and runs until noon or so and is held at Tavern on the Green. For more info go to NYARM's website. Also, HPD has material on this subject. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #621:  I had a pressure test on the gas pipes in a house I own. After the test I was told by the plumber that the pipes leaked and they should be all changed. I was told that gas is under less than 5 pounds of pressure, but that during the test it is pushed up to 100 psi. The house is not new, it was built around 1944. Is it possible that the test made the leaks happen, since I had no leaks before? I had to get the test because there was a fire on the second floor and Con Edison turned the gas off. To turn it back on they require this test to be done by a licensed plumber. Post your answer

Answer: Con Ed requires the hold test before turning the gas back on. Whether or not the test made the leaks in the pipe is a question that will never be answered. In most cases the pipes leaked a small amount of gas but with the test, it just became more evident. I know of no case where a test made the pipes leak and the plumber was held responsible. John G.

Answer: Whether it leaked before the test or not, if it's found to leak, your gas piping MUST pass that test before they turn it back on. As you said, Con Ed requires it, so you don't have a choice but to comply with them if you want the gas turned back on, and if you cannot prove that it wasn't leaking before, you can't hold the test, or the testing plumber, responsible for the leaks.


Question #619: Are there fire safety rules governing trash compactors that regulate whether the door that allows trash to descend into the hopper from the chute in a trash compactor should be open or closed when it is not in use? Post your answer

Answer: The Housing Maintenance Code requires that all compactor chute doors be self-closing. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #618: I live in a multiple dwelling apartment building (66 units) in Nassau County. 1) Does New York state law require a superintendent to live on the premises? 2) Does state law require the superintendent of the building to work only in that building? 3) My apartment building has a "sister" building consisting of 66 units. Does New York state law require a super for each building or can 1 super maintain both  buildings (132 units combined)? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, New York State Multiple Dwelling Law Article 3 Title 3, #83 states that "either the owner, manager or person responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the building live in the building or within 200 feet thereof; when said building has more than 13 families (apartments)." New York State does not state how many apartments is the maximum limit per one man. If the sister building is "connected" or "adjoining" then it is legal under this law to have one man. No, the super does not have to be full time or require him only to work for that building. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #602: Who is responsible for installing a legal fire gate at fire escape windows - tenant or landlord? Post your answer

Answer: Unless it is specified in the lease who is to pay for the installation, it is assumed that the tenant will pay. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #599: I live in a 1950's co-op in Hudson County, NJ. The previous management company verbally allowed me to install a small in-sink garbage disposal unit. New management wants to fine me for having it without documentation. Are there any laws regarding in-sink garbage disposals? Post your answer

Answer: Sorry I have no knowledge of New Jersey building codes. May I recommend asking a licensed plumber from your area. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #590: What is the smallest bathroom room size according to New York State Code in a residence with just a toilet and sink. Post your answer

Answer: Just a bowl and sink with enough space to fit them in, sit on the bowl and close the door without getting off the bowl, that's it. Bathroom sizes are not determined by square foot. Also the question is, what year was it built? New construction, or major renovations to bathroom must meet ADA laws: bath room doors 36 inch or wider, enough for a wheel chair to pass, sinks that permit wheel chairs etc. In the old laws, bath tubs could be in the kitchen and just a lavatory for sink and bowl in the apartment or even down the hall. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #588: Our landlord is having a man who is not a licensed plumber to do the repairs on our hot, cold and mixing valves on our shower. This strikes me as a very bad idea. Are there any regulations regarding who a landlord can have do repairs? Post your answer

Answer: This question has been asked and answered before (see Categorized Questions page for the appropriate category, or do a Google website search). Most plumbing jobs inside the walls require a licensed plumber as per NYC building (plumbing) codes. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #585: I live in Downtown Brooklyn in a privately owned multiple dwelling (3 units, 4 floors). The landlord is never around and may not come by for weeks at a time. What are the requirements by law? Is he required to have a super or attendant in the building. I feel like there should be someone here always, as he lives in another borough, at least 1 hour away by car? Post your answer

Answer: New York City and New York State laws only require a super or such on call 24/7 if the building has more then 6 and 8 apartments respectively. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #584: I am having a baby in a few months and live in an older apartment building in Brooklyn. I am wondering how I check the lead levels in the apartment from paint and such. Post your answer

Answer: You can buy a test kit from a good hardware store. Or you can spend money and have a environmental company come in and do the testing. First choice is much cheaper. John


Question #572: I live in a condo apartment in Queens. I would like to change all my windows to vinyl windows as my current windows are too old. I heard that vinyl windows may not be accepted by most co-ops due to the fire code. I want to know whether I can use it for my condo apartment. If I change to use vinyl windows, will the condo management request me to change it back? Also, will I get any trouble from the fire department if I use vinyl windows? Post your answer

Answer: Just ask the managing agent that question: "Does the building permit vinyl window replacements?" Most probably you would have to get the Condo Board's permission to do this, as well as fill out an alteration or construction agreement. As for vinyl windows being against Fire Department Code, I have not heard this. This would be an issue with the manufacturer - to give you New York City Code-accepted windows. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #566: Re: Question #547: As a super, I have always operated under the assumption that the only duty not legal for an unlicensed locksmith to perform within my own building is that of breaking into a locked apartment in the absence of the owner. Certainly to change locks or cylinders, install new locks, make keys, or break in with the owner/resident's authorization, are things I consider to be legal. I would like to know other opinions about that. Post your answer

Answer: The law is quite clear: only a licensed person or one working under a licensed smith can install new locks, make keys, or gain entrance to an apartment with the consent of the owner. Repairs to locks and changing existing cylinders are also under the same law. However, the law allows repairing or changing of cylinders as a maintenance activity. Keep in mind, it allows but does not consent. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #565: I need to install an air conditioner in a room where both windows open onto the fire escape. I plan to put Fire Department-approved gates on one window and want to install the air conditioner high in the second, with a stationary gate. Is this to Code? Post your answer

Answer: No, this is not to code. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #562: Is it possible to evict a rent controlled tenant based on their repeated unauthorized entry into the boiler room? Post your answer

Answer: I doubt it. However you CAN press charges of trespassing if the boiler room door has signs posted, "Authorized Personnel Only - Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted". Call the police if the signs are on the door. PS. The boiler room door should be locked. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #560: I own a co-op in Queens. The previous owner had installed an air conditioner in a window next to a fire escape. Management is now demanding immediate removal, as the conditioner unit cannot exceed the windowsill. I cannot find the building code to verify the regulation. If true, all new air conditioners appear to exceed the window sill, so can anyone suggest a solution? Post your answer

Answer: I have not heard of that new code. Under Local Law 11 of 98 and its amendments, AC units that go 10 inches or more past the window sill have to be installed by having extended legs that support the unit against the building or have metal bars that hold it from the inside. What you are saying I have not heard and if this is the case them 90 percent of the current a/c units are now illegal. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #559: I live in a 3 family brownstone co-op in Brooklyn, which shares a common wall with the 3 family co-op next door. The new owners next door have started to build a roof deck and have cut 6 12'' x 12" holes into the top of the common wall in order to anchor concrete pilings into the wall which will hold up metal beams. The beams will only extend half way across the pilings so they are claiming that they do not have to ask our permission and is completely legal. The holes for the pilings extend completely across the wall so I think that they are wrong. Does anyone know the laws for common walls or where I can look it up without involving a lawyer? Post your answer

Answer: Not everything that is Code is published. The fastest way to do this is to call Department of Buildings and request a building inspector to come and inspect it. I am sure they have filed the proper papers and have a building permit - if not they are in deep doodoo. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #558: I would like to know if the landlord is supposed to provide window screens if I don't have central air conditioning in my apartment? Post your answer

Answer: Window screens, if they were not installed prior to you moving in, are NOT required of the landlord to provide and/or maintain. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #557: I see that it's been stated here that there is no required license for supers, but there must be some skills or programs they must pass right? I live in a poorly maintained building, and people wonder why we don't have a porter or a handyman, what the responsibilities of the super are, and although you have told others that they should contact the building management for such questions, what do we do when the building management chooses to ignore us and our questions, who do we turn to then? Post your answer

Answer: There are plenty of good courses available to take, but there are absolutely none required to have been taken and passed before hiring someone for a super's position. As for who to complain to about your poorly maintained building, you can try calling the City's 311 line, or call HPD and ask them for advice. It's a tough situation when the property management company doesn't respond in a timely fashion to complaints, but sometimes they can be forced to do so with some outside pressure.


Question #554: I am planning to have the stucco coating on two, non-street facing sides of my building replaced. I need to know if a permit from the Department of Buildings is required for this work. Post your answer

Answer: Yes a permit is required. The contractor can easily obtain the permit. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #553:  I am disabled. Am I legally responsible to bring my bagged trash from the 4th floor down to the alley below the 1st floor? Sometimes the elevator works, sometimes it doesn't. Post your answer

Answer: ADA rules don't eliminate your responsibility as the lease holder to have your own household garbage removed. Perhaps the good neighbor policy would work, where your neighbors can help you in these times. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #550: I'm a superintendent in a newly constructed building in Manhattan. The building has 120 units. Tenants are asking me to install their air conditioners for them. Is this my responsibility? There is enough work around the building to keep me busy other than this kind of work. Can I call on a law or similar? Post your answer

Answer: I don't think there's a law on this, but if you're in the union you can ask if there is a union rule on it. If not a union member, it depends on whether or not it's in your written job description, if you have one. If you don't have a written job description then it's no doubt completely up for negotiation. Without knowing more details, it sounds like it would be beyond your daily responsibilities, and one that either the tenants themselves or your management company should pay you extra for.

Answer: Is the air conditioner a window unit; I would not let one of my staff members install an air conditioner in the apartment window. If that unit ever fell out of the window and hurt someone, or worse killed them, the building would be responsible. If it's a sleeve unit, all that's required is the old one be pulled out and the new one pushed in. Mike Mac

Answer: Installing AC units IS NOT normally the job of the superintendent. If you do install them because you are told it is, or because you want to make money doing it, you must follow LL.11/98. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #549: Am I allowed to use an incinerator with a pollution control chimney in Brooklyn? Post your answer

Answer: NO. All incinerators in New York City have been banned. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #548: I live on the fifteenth floor of a Manhattan high rise. Our terrace was recently renovated and the height of the floor was elevated by 4 inches. The existing rail now seems unsafe - especially for young children. What are the child safety regulations for height and width (between slats) for a rail on a terrace in a residential dwelling? Post your answer

Answer: Minimum distance between the floor and the bottom of the horizontal rail is 40 inches. The space between the vertical pieces cannot exceed 5 inches. PGrech, gboc.net 


Question #547: Is it unlawful for a super or handyman to perform the duties of a locksmith in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: Yes in at least most cases it is.


Question #545: A contractor said that I cannot add a floor to the top of a condo townhouse (want to add a 5th floor to my 4th floor unit) because when the building was converted to condominiums they did not do it to the proper fire code, i.e. fire stairs, sprinklers in halls, etc. Is this true? Post your answer

Answer: An architect can best answer this question. I am surprised you asked a contractor before asking an architect. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #543: Are landlords required to install carbon monoxide detectors in 10 family apartment buildings in Yonkers? Post your answer

Answer: The City of Yonkers may have their own code / law for CO detectors. Call the city and ask them. In any event even if the landlord was required to install one, you would be charged for it. So why not put it in yourself. Don't buy a cheap one, buy a good one for about $25. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #542: I represent a large residential building in Manhattan which has a high pressure boiler and a standpipe. We have a licensed employee to look after the boiler and pipe during regular working hours (9-5 M-F). Do we need to have a licensed employee available 24/7 for boiler and standpipe problems if we install a quick response alarm system? Post your answer

Answer: A quick-response system may satisfy the requirements. But never-the-less, the law requires someone 24/7 to cover the high pressure system. Now, only rarely is that done in the industry. You should ask your managing agent to look into this. A far as the standpipe is concerned you do not need 24/7 coverage unless you have a fire pump system. Both of these can be cured by having other staff members holding both High Pressure Steam and Fire Pump certificates of fitness. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #540: I live in an apartment that shares the electric meter with the landlord. I know that is illegal, but is it also illegal for him to shut off our air conditioner because he thinks it uses too much electricity? Post your answer

Answer: There is only one illegality here, and that is that you are on his meter. The other is moot - since he pays for it, he controls it. Work out a deal where you can pay him the difference in the monthly rent for the additional electric for a/c. Most probably you are already paying rent to him - sounds like this is a one family house with an illegal conversion to two. HINT: if true, that's your bargaining chip. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #533: Is it possible to join ABS piping to a lead pipe and have it work/stay? Post your answer

Answer: In most cases, yes. You need to check your local building codes to see if it's legal. Note: ABS piping is not the same as PVC, for those who might have been wondering. ABS is plastic also but its color is black while PVC is a white plastic. You can not glue ABS to PVC, but you can join the two by using clamps. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #530: I am considering enclosing my boiler and hot water heater, creating a boiler room that's fire proof - if possible. What regulations must I be aware of regarding this type of work? Post your answer

Answer: The rules depend on the jurisdiction in which the building is located, which you didn't reveal. Check first with your city's building department. There are no universal rules, except that you should be sure to allow for plenty of outdoor air to enter the enclosure, which the boiler needs for combustion. Dick Koral

Answer: Also, make the room large enough so that maintenance and repairs can be easily made. Too often these rooms are made too small, which makes repairs difficult. The materials should be fireproof and DEP may require that the room be able to hold a certain amount of oil (assuming you have an oil burner) in case of an oil leak from the line in the "boiler room". Consulting your fuel supplier may be a good place to start. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #528: What are the OSHA colors for all plumbing, red for standpipe, yellow for gas, etc.? Post your answer

Answer: This question has previously been asked and answered. Readers, please check the FAQs and the Categorized Questions before asking a question.


Question #521: Is there a set distance from a sprinkler head that should be free of objects (example: boxes are piled high near a sprinkler head) is there a minimum distance? Post your answer

Answer: 18 inches is the minimum clearance below a sprinkler head. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #519:  I live in an apartment building with four other apartments. I just found out that the hallway lights are hooked to my electric. Am I responsible for this extra bill or is the landlord supposed to take care of this?  Post your answer

Answer: Not only are you not responsible for electric consumption outside your apartment but the connection is illegal. Look up and call the NYS Public Service Commission's consumer complaint line (there's an office in NYC) and it will be taken care of. You are due a fat refund! Dick Koral

Answer: This is a common situation in buildings where there are 10 apartments or less. I'm not saying it's legal or illegal, just that it's common. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #516: Is there a requirement for landlords to install electronic ignition rather than the pilot light in stoves and ovens? Post your answer

Answer: There is no law or code that requires a landlord to replace working stoves with electronic ignition. However, when the stove has to be replaced with a NEW stove, that new stove has to have electronic ignition. The landlord is NOT required to install a new appliance as a replacement for a non-operational one. The landlord can replace it with an old or used appliance as long as it is of the same size or larger, and that it works. In this case, if he is replacing a stove with a USED stove, that used stove does NOT have to have electronic ignition - ONLY if he gives you a new one. A tenant can request a new stove or appliance rather then getting a used one, but the cost of the new stove/appliance is divided by 40 and 1/40 of the cost is added to the rent forever. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #510: I'd like to make a complaint about irregular heating service in our building. All last week we did not have heat from 11am to 2pm. We called our landlord but management did not do anything, only promised. There is no heat today either. What can we do? Post your answer

Answer: Dial 311 for all residential heat complaints anywhere in New York City.


Question #509: How many people are legally allowed to reside in a one bedroom apartment in New Jersey? Post your answer

Answer: In New York and New Jersey to the best of my knowledge it's not the law or building codes that put a limit on how many people can occupy an apartment, but the terms in the lease. The lease would or should state specifically how many occupants may occupy the apartment. But as in all legal matters, this questions is better answered by an attorney. Check the lease, if nothing is in the lease, then ask an attorney. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: I suspect that the questioner is asking about another apartment in his/her building or in the neighborhood and is annoyed about the consequences of overcrowding. But before "calling the cops" I would urge making sure that your action would not make some people homeless. Let there be justice tempered by mercy! Dick Koral


Question #501: If a tenant does not comply with the garbage recycling procedure, which results in the landlord being fined, could the tenant be liable for the fine, and if this was an ongoing issue, could this be basis for the tenant’s eviction from apartment? Post your answer

Answer: If you are around when the sanitation inspectors come and watch them go through the garbage for violations, you can point out to them the tenant that did not comply. If would help if they found the name and address of the non-complying tenant in the garbage. At that point the inspector can issue the tenant a summons. If it's just bottles and cans you're out of luck. Your managing agent would need to speak with the building's attorney. PGrech, gboc.net 


Question #498: Do I need a license to work as a handyman for very small jobs, like light plumbing and electrical? Post your answer

Answer: For small jobs? According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, if you don't charge more than $200 you don't need a license. Plumbing and electrical is a different story. You'll have to check on plumbing, but according to the Code Section §27-3017, ALL electrical work needs to be done by, or under, a licensed master electrician. The exception is low voltage work.

Answer: If you are going to do normal repairs that involve repairing and replacing existing fixtures and switches etc., then no license is required, as long as you DO NOT go into or interfere with the trap in plumbing or the fuses in electrical. If you are doing it as a business or for money then you should check with the city if you need a contractors license. Furthermore you would need insurance. Maintenance repairs are excluded from the Codes as long as they are maintenance only and not NEW. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #496: Is the owner of a multi-family dwelling of say 6 floors required to have an electrical bell for each apartment or one that physically knocks. I am not talking about the intercom to get in the building, I am referring to each apartment door. Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge and after scanning both City and State Codes, there is no code requiring a doorbell. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #493: How many radiators and heat pipes are required in a two bedroom apartment in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: There is no exact answer to this question. Is this a steam or hot water system? It really depends upon the heat requirements of the apartment. There is no legal requirement as to the number of radiators. The only real requirement is that there be enough heat to maintain the minimum apartment temperature required by the NYC housing maintenance code - 68 degrees. I have seen two bedroom apartments with as little as one radiator and only a riser in each bedroom and as many as five radiators - one in each bedroom, the living room, dining room and kitchen. Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: To the best of my understanding, the law doesn't specify what type nor how many heat-emitting devices are required. The law does specify what minimum indoor temperatures must be maintained. Dick Koral


Question #491: I live in a two level apartment in Brooklyn. My upstairs bath tub is leaking water into the downstairs ceiling. The landlord said that it is due to the fact that we have no overflow pipe or drain, but that he is not responsible for it and that we should not put so much water into the tub. What is the real law on this and where can I find information on it? Post your answer

Answer:  Your landlord is typically responsible for repairs to pipes inside the walls (whether or not it's a leak in the drain pipe or a nonexistent overflow pipe), and a typical lease / rental agreement will spell out the details, at least in general terms. Consult with a lawyer well-versed in landlord / tenant law to be certain who is responsible for what in your case.


Question #490: Are items stored in a common hallway of a residential building a violation of the New York City fire codes? I have a problem neighbor who continually keeps items in the hallway. The landlord does not respond when I ask if it is a violation - does anyone know? Post your answer

Answer: Any items left in common hallways are considered a fire violation by the FDNY. This includes floor mats left on the outside of the door. The emergency stairwells in the building must be free of ladders and any other items as well. Roberto Cardona


Question #487: Some of the electrical outlets in my apartment have a light switch on top and plug on bottom. A friend of mine told me this is no longer code. Should these be converted to separate the light switch and the electrical plug? Post your answer

Answer: The type of switch you are referring to is called a stack switch. Yes, they are no longer to code. If your stack switch works fine, then it's ok to leave it as is; if you have to replace it because its broken, then you have to put in a GFI stack switch, that's to code. Furthermore, new renovations call for a separate line and switch for the light and a separate GFI outlet. I recommend replacing the old stack switchers with the new GFI stack switches because they do save lives. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #483: I rent an apartment in a 60-unit apartment building in Westchester County. Nowhere in my lease does it say that I must have carpeting. I have newly refinished hardwood floors and I have area rugs in the bedrooms and living room. The tenant downstairs is complaining that I don't have carpeting and claims it is a "New York State" law that you must have carpeting in your apartment. Is it a law? My super never explained that to me when I moved in. Post your answer

Answer: As far as I know it is not a New York State law that requires tenants to have their apartment carpeted. Remember a lease would only require 80% carpeting, so throw rugs that cover that percentage is accepted. I do not know your local laws, and as always this is my opinion and you should ask an attorney. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: Your super probably doesn't have to explain anything like that to you. The managing agent, or whoever you signed your lease with, could answer your questions about this.


Question #481: We live in a 47-unit self-managed co-op in Brooklyn. Our upstairs neighbor regularly engages in noise-making at night. This has been going on for years. We have been told that there is very little that can be done without conclusive evidence that the noise is coming from her apartment. Lately, she has taken to banging on a decorative balcony which is outside her master bedroom. Since the balcony is on the exterior of the building is this behavior subject to a different set of laws than the noise making in the interior of her apartment? I would imagine it should be illegal to bang on the exterior of a building since this could potentially lead to a hazardous condition. Post your answer

Answer: Noise and odor complaints are common in multi-family buildings. Just what can be done is a gray area. New York City has code that deals with noise pollution and quality of life issues. 311 is the number for complaints. The co-op or condo Offering Plan should also spell out quality of life and rights to quiet and enjoyment of your home. At times City agencies have their hands tied due to the noise level not exceeding the code. It's up to the board to begin proceedings against the owner or shareholder of the apartment. You may end up in civil court if their efforts are not sincere or useless. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #456: My landlord has asked that we remove the washing machine from our rent stabilized apartment. Ironically it was the super who installed the washing machine for us. Are there any laws that require a landlord to supply a laundry room or that there be a laundry a certain distance away? I live on the 5th floor of a building with no elevator and I have a bad back. Is there a law to protect me? Post your answer

Answer: As in all issues regarding your rights you need to refer to the lease and what it contains. Now, you may have a right in this case to keep the washer even if the lease says you can't. Here is why: your super installed it, and as agent for the owner he authorized its installment, giving you a waiver of that part of the lease that says you can't have a washer. (This is my opinion, you need to ask HUD or Rent Stabilization Association about it). No the owner is not required to have washers and dryers on the premises for tenants' use, its a convenience - not a requirement. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: How long have you had the washing machine? It may be that you have had it long enough so that you do not have to remove it. Another good place to ask this question is the Q & A "Forum" at www.tenant.net Lou


Question #454: In New York State, living in a HUD senior housing project, how many years must pass before I can get my apartment painted? Post your answer

Answer:  A tenant is entitled to a paint job every three years. Note: the paint job must be performed in a workmanlike manner, and conform to lead paint laws. The color of the paint is to be a light color, such as white or off white. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #447: I live in a high-rise co-op apartment in Queens. I would like to remodel my kitchen and would like to know what codes there are concerning the placement of a gas stove. I plan to place the stove in a corner and extend the gas line underneath the base cabinets to reach the new stove. The walls are constructed from hard plaster and concrete blocks. Any help is greatly appreciated. Post your answer

Answer: The House Rules notwithstanding, building code is quite clear here. A licensed plumber must file for a permit to do any gas work. So have the plumber do the filing. Pgrech gboc.net


Question #440: Is my landlord responsible for a fire escape on my second and third floor New Jersey apartment? Post your answer

Answer: Probably, yes. But do check with your local fire department. Tell them what your problem is. They will probably send an inspector who will demand that the owner install the fire escapes. Don't procrastinate. Your lives are in danger. Dick Koral


Question #433: I live in a 5 story building with 12 units. The railroad apartments only have two windows leading to the outside, one to the fire escape, the other used for an air conditioner. There are children under 10 present in some of these apartments. Under these circumstances can a parent refuse window guards? Post your answer

Answer: If the window has an air conditioner, and the air conditioner is permanently installed, then that window does not get a widow guard. The fire escape also DOES NOT get a window guard as it would violate Fire Codes. Make sure this window locks and make sure the locks are somewhat childproof. Pgrech


Question #432: I live in a 5 story walk up, on the ground floor apartment. There is a furnace below me which constantly turns on and off, creating a loud vibrating noise. It feels like I am riding a city bus. How do I address this issue? Do I have any protection from this? Post your answer

Answer: While it is not uncommon for noise and vibrations to come from a boiler and or other mechanical devices, there is a limit allowable by law. Your remedy is in you lease, where it guarantees reasonable quiet and enjoyment of your apartment. I would approach the owners in a nice manner and see if this can be resolved. The DEP or EPA can be called to take a noise level test and if the noise goes over what is allowable, a violation will be issued to the owner. But try the nice way first. PGrech


Question #431: I own a building in New York City that has store and 2 apartments. I would like to replace the entry door to the hallway leading to the apartment, but am told it can be a sold steel door. Please if you can what are the codes for this door? Post your answer

Answer: The door must be made of metal, with a fire rating of 2.5 hours. Pgrech


Question #430: We just bought a co-op apartment that we would like to remodel. Some of the work my husband will do himself. Are we allowed having any amount (bags) of construction garbage to put in a compactor room by law of New York City? Post your answer

Answer: By the "law of New York City" you are not allowed to put ANY construction debris/garbage out with the regular (household) garbage. What happens in real life, however, in the case of garbage at least, is sometimes governed more by the rules of your building. Be honest with your super (you will gain nothing by trying to deceive him - and have a lot to lose if you attempt deception and he finds out), let him know what you're planning and ask him for his advice and assistance, if not his blessing. Obviously, you should be on good terms with him and try to work with him as much as possible, and he will work with you, if he's like 99% of the really good supers out there. Do not in any case put construction debris down the compactor chute. It should be bagged in the thickest bags you can find, double bagged if necessary, being sure not to make the bags very heavy to handle, and put out with the regular garbage a little at a time. This is NOT a solution for any contractor - only for a resident.

Answer: First of all the question was about putting construction debris in compactor ROOM. While there is NO "city" code preventing you from doing this, there should be a co-op house rule preventing this. Secondly, "City Code" if you will, forbid any construction material from being put out for city pick up. Sanitation exists only for household refuse, and not construction material. the cost of a mini bin is about 40 bucks a yard. They are cheap enough to rent one or two. Pgrech


Question #425: I  am the super of a 19 family building. One of the tenants left a 1 year old child on a bed which was pushed up against a cast iron radiator. The baby put his hand on the radiator and got badly burned. The tenant has lived here over 3 years, and never asked for them until their baby got burned. They are now suing the owner. My question: Is there a New York City law for radiator covers? Post your answer

Answer: Read the Multiple Dwelling Law (NYS) and the Housing Maintenance Code (NYC) for possible answers.

Answer: No law requires covers. Torts - No Common Law or Statutory Duty of Landlord to Install Radiator Covers in an Apartment Where Children Live Rivera v. Nelson Realty LLC, 7 N.Y.3d 530, 825 N.Y.S.2d 422 (2006). The Court of Appeals affirms the First Department which had held that there is no duty imposed on a landlord either by virtue of the Multiple Dwelling Law or the Administrative Code to require installation of radiator covers in apartments where they know that small children reside. The court takes the opportunity to expound on the meaning of Basso v. Miller (40 N.Y.2d 233 (1976)) which abolished the distinction between an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser insofar as the duty that is owed. The standard of "reasonable care under the circumstances" is deceptively simple and not so broadly interpreted. A landlord is still not liable to a tenant unless a duty to repair is imposed by statute, by regulation, or by contract. In this case, as in the case where there was no duty to install window guards (Ramos v. 600 West 183rd Street, 155 A.D.2d 333), the Multiple Dwelling Law, Section 78 does not mandate a duty to install radiator covers, nor does the City's Administrative Code, Section 27-809, which applies only to insulating exposed piping.


Question #423: I live on the top floor of a commercial building, which is a hair salon. Above the hair salon is the first floor, which is an office, then I am on the top floor. Is the landlord required to supply the carbon monoxide detector in this building? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, as long as you have a residential lease and a gas stove. However, you will find that the cost the landlord will charge you ($25 allowed under the law), you might be able to find one for less money. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #411: Does a two-family house with a store downstairs need a fire escape or other emergency exit to leave the building - other than through the front door? Post your answer

Answer: Read the Multiple Dwelling Law (NYS) and the Housing Maintenance Code (NYC) for possible answers.


Question #406: Where can I find information such as building codes, requirements, material, structure, etc., on fire escapes for a 42 unit brick building in Queens? Post your answer

Answer: Check out the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law and the New York City Housing Maintenance Code.


Question #404: Are gas dryers allowed to be vented through a panel in the top of a window in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: No. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #402: What rooms are counted as "rooms" under the New York City Multiple Dwelling Law? Post your answer

Answer: This does not have a simple answer. There are some gray areas to it. The following are rooms: Bed room, Living room, Dining room, Kitchen. Foyers and halls are not counted as rooms. Bathrooms are not counted as rooms. That was the simple part; not so simple is if you have two bathrooms or two foyers or a few hallways. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #401: What is the minimum temperature for heat and hot water that a landlord must provide in NYC? Post your answer
Question #399: I live in a ground-floor front apartment located at street level with a large bedroom, a tiny bedroom probably illegally carved out of the living room, and a small kitchen. I demanded that exterior burglar bars be installed on the exterior of the three windows of the tiny new bedroom (for my child) and management complied, with one window containing an emergency fire exit that opens from the inside. In the other bedroom, however, there are permanent exterior bars on the two windows that do not open or release. And in the tiny kitchen on the rear alley, there are interior bars that do not open or release either. Hence, in case of a fire, I could exit the apartment only from my daughter's bedroom directly to the sidewalk. If the fire trapped me in my own bedroom or in the kitchen, I'd be roasted alive. Surely these are fire law violations, but I cannot locate them. Can anyone help me? Post your answer

Answer:  Wait, first you demanded that the owner put burglar proof bars on the windows and now you are complaining that the bars will prevent your exit in the event of a fire? Make up your mind. You can not have burglar proof bars and then have a way out. You wont find it in the Fire Code because the Fire Code only requires one other means of egress from your type of apartment, and the landlord met that requirement. As for the illegal carved out extra room? Sounds like you're just not happy where you live. Pgrech, Gboc.net

Answer: You have your two means of egress as required by the New York City Building Code. The landlord is not required to add another. A good idea might be to have occasional fire drill activities with your family. Also, make a plan on what to do in case there is ever a fire. You can find help and info about fire safety education on the New York City Fire Department's website -- FDNY.gov --good luck to you and your family. Richard B. Gum


Question #396: In my apartment you can access the fire escape from the living room window, and from the bedroom window. My apartment is the only one in the building that doesn't have security gates protecting these windows. I asked the landlord and he said he doesn't have to install them, and that he couldn't anyway because they would block the fire escape. But all the other apartments have them - the gates that swing open from the inside. Is he obligated to install them? Is there anyway I could use NYC Health Code §131.15 to my advantage? Post your answer

Answer: No the landlord is not obligated to use them. You can buy, and have installed, Fire Department approved window gates. But it would be at your expense. Abbey Locksmith is experienced and a well noted locksmith in New York City. 212-353-2285, ask for Little John. Tell him Peter Grech sent ya. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #395: Are PVC pipes and/or tubing permitted in the installation of central vacuums in New York City in a multiple dwelling? If it is allowed where can I get copies of such confirmation. Post your answer

Answer: According to the 1991 Amended Building Code for the City of New York, when referring to dwellings as per section four of the Multiple Dwelling Law, there is no mention of a central vacuum system what so ever. The PVC rule is only applied to plumbing. Ergo one can deduce that PVC is allowed for central vacuum systems only because there is no rule against it. And I know that plumbers would agree on this issue. Your best bet would be to call Department of Buildings or an architect. Please let us know what you find out. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #394: I live in a 9 floor apartment house. I've live here for 4 years. I just received a notice from my landlord referring to: "Pursuant to 27-2046.1 New Local Law 7 of 2004" - he states that I am to pay 25 dollars for the installment for a Carbon Monoxide detector. It also states that I have one year to pay this amount. He's adding it in the following months rent. Is it legal for him to charge me this fee? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is. We should all learn to read (research) a little before asking our questions.


Question #391: Can you please tell me whether New York City has standard or building code requirements (steel or cast iron) for bathtubs in a 16 unit building? Post your answer

Answer: New York City codes allows the use of both steel and cast iron tubs. It also allows Americast which is similar to Fiberglas. The best to use is cast iron as it lasts longer, but it does cost more. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #389: Where can I get an OSHA color chart? What I mean is a chart where I find out which colors to paint the pipes in garage area, so it can help identify what is in the pipe. I can't find one on the net. Post your answer

Answer: Not certain about it, but this may be what you're looking for.

Answer: Here in NYC there are many different colors for the same fluids, depending on the type of building.  For residential and commercial (excluding schools, hospitals or hotels), the colors for pipes that are accepted by New York City and New York State are:

  • White - low pressure steam
  • Yellow - high pressure steam
  • Orange - low pressure condensate
  • Purple - high pressure condensate
  • Dark brown - waste and drain lines
  • Silver - electrical lines
  • Dark green - sprinklers
  • Bright red - standpipe
  • Yellow - standpipe/sprinkler combination
  • Dark blue - domestic cold water
  • Pale blue - domestic hot water.

Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #386: What are the measurements for an egress window in a basement sleeping room, and all the requirements please? Post your answer

Answer: Without knowing where you live and the age of the building, I can not provide an answer. I suggest you call the Department of Buildings in your area. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #382: Why do some buildings have exterior fire escapes and others do not? Post your answer

Answer: Modern buildings don't have external fire escapes of sorts if they are a large building. Smaller buildings are still permitted to have them. In landmark districts you will find that most buildings don't have external fire escapes on the avenue where they can be seen from the street. They would have then in the back. Therefore it always depends on the architect, the budget, the zoning code and the Landmarks Commission. Remember internal stairs take up space that would be otherwise rentable or sellable. Pgrech, gboc.net


Question #379: Can you a install a fourth meter in a two-family house? Post your answer

Answer: No you cannot, without getting the proper permits. A two family house is only entitled to three meters as long as the owner is not in one of the units. The third meter is to be used for electricity that would run lights outside and inside the dwelling and for heating, etc. It is NOT intended to be used for a third apartment, or in your case possibly a fourth apartment. If you get a variance from your township to make the two-family into a legal three-family, then you may apply for the fourth meter. Peter Grech, gboc.net


Question #377: In NYC by law, are landlords supposed to supply tenants with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by law. I also rent, and my landlord supplies all of his tenants with both alarms. I'd like to know if my mother should request the same service. We both leave in Queens and we are both in rent controlled apartments. Post your answer

Answer: Yes. Landlords are required to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in every dwelling unit. They are also allowed to receive from tenants monies to cover the cost of the purchase of the detectors: $10 per smoke detector and $25 per carbon monoxide detector. Read more about the new law here. Pgrech


Question #371: We live in a 90-unit cooperative in Manhattan. Recently the Board hired the Superintendent to renovate a "bike room" for about $4,200. This entailed removing three walls, removing a bathroom and the appliances in it and installing new electrical and switch. There were no permits obtained and the Super does not have an electric or contractor's license. He also hired some people, who clearly were not licensed, to help out. This all seems like a bad idea. Can you advise? Post your answer

Answer:  Bad idea? Not really. As along as no one who is working for the super gets hurt, as long as no building inspectors came by, as long as there is no electrical fire, as long as no resident gets hurt - to name a few - it should work out ok. There comes a time when Boards have to weigh the up-front cost versus the possible hidden cost when things go wrong. A better idea would have been to not have the super be the contractor but an employee of the building, and have him and a temp helper build the room. This way everything would have been covered properly by building insurance. The electrical, as long as NO NEW installation was being done and only Old fixtures were being replaced ,sounds like it's within the electrical code. It's good to give the super and staff extra money for extra work; you just have to consider is he acting as worker or contractor. Pgrech

Answer:  You answered your own question. If the Buildings Department gets wind of this, you are all in trouble. If a fire breaks out or other thing you think you are insured for, the insurance company will find out what you did and refuse to pay. Dick Koral


Question #368: In reference to Question #336: Part of your answer was: "The code also states that one super can only serve up to 65 apartments." My question is, Where can I find this code exactly, and will it apply to a co-op as well as a rental building? I have endured 2 buildings with 109 co-op units for 3 years, and the board keeps asking for more of me. I do not want to be fired because of my wife and 2 small children, 11 months, and 4 year old, but I'm burning out, injuring my back often and with no hope in sight. Although I am in NJ, any answer even if related to New York State will give me a running start towards the solution. Post your answer

Answer: Although we try to assist building service employees everywhere, the Codes referred to above are strictly New York City and New York State Codes. If you do just a little research before asking your questions, you will find that these Codes referred to often are NOT referring to any place other than New York City/State. The Multiple Dwelling Law only covers New York State. The Housing Maintenance Code is a New York City code or set of laws. Also check here for further research.


Question #367: I am the super of a non-union 72 family building. Is it true that by law I should have at the least a part time helper to help around the building. Post your answer

Answer: What does "by law" mean? Depends where you building is located. Assistance all depends on your work load. I am sure you would agree that all buildings with 70 to 75 apartments are not the same. The work load may differ. I suggest you keep a accurate log and just see what do you do over the course of a month, noting hours you work and all the things you do, no matter how minor. Then you can approach the owner or management with this information and discuss a solution. Pgrech

Answer:  What you must ask yourself is did the previous super have a helper. I worked in a non-union building and knew what I was getting into. On your next job its important to interview the owner or managing agent, the same as you are being interviewed. My guess is you will never receive help. Note: the building that I worked at 4 years ago has gone through 3 supers. Chris


Question #360: Is it legal and our right to install a wet bar (countertop with plumbed bar sink) with a under-the-counter wine cooler and on-to-the-counter microwave in the cellar of our Queens County 1-family home? We seriously need it for when we host cocktails downstairs. Post your answer

Answer: Yes to the under-the-counter wine cooler, yes to the microwave. For the bar sink with drains and water, you would need a licensed plumber and make him responsible for any permits that may be needed. When it's all done, don't forget to invite me over. Pgrech


Question #355: Is it legal to have a vibrating equipment (jacuzzi, washer / dryer, etc) in an old co-op apartment building. Post your answer

Answer:


Question #354: I understand it is illegal in New York City for unlicensed plumbers, such as supers without a license, to do plumbing work contained within a building's walls, but they can legally fix faucets, etc.? Post your answer

Answer: Remember now with the lead paint laws, making holes in certain buildings requires a certified person to do this. Furthermore, while some types of repairs can be made by handyman or super, there are many that can not be made without a licensed plumber and a permit, or at least a plumber signing off on the repair. Pgrech


Question #350: My local building inspector will not give me an OC because he says that the faucet I am using in my shower is not rated for anti-scalding. The faucet is built by American Standard and the model is from 2003. The faucet also conforms to ASME A112.18.1M. I will like to know what are the New York City codes and regulations controlling this inspector's call. Post your answer

Answer: The inspector's calls are covered by state and city laws. You can challenge his "call" at HPD. But you better be armed to the teeth with information and answers. Furthermore, it would be wise to have a licensed plumber there, only because if you are not one, then you don't quality as an expert. Pgrech


Question #349: I have been a superintendent at a large co-op for 16 years. In the past, we would do extra work, such as replacing hard-wired smoke alarms and emergency battery back up light fixtures in our public hallways, and get paid extra. Management is now telling us that it is part of our job and will not pay us extra. I asked an electrician about this, he told me that by law you must licensed to do this. He said "in fact, you must be licensed to install a light switch and outlet" which I find hard to believe. Is it legal for us to do this type of work? I am a member of Local 32B-J but wanted to ask on this site before calling my union. Post your answer

Answer: Your electrician is correct. You need to be licensed, or working under a licensed electrician, even to change a switch or outlet. However, the powers that be overlook this simple maintenance task as it can get too costly for building owners. Keep in mind, replacing a switch or outlet is not the same as installing a new outlet or switch, in which case the law is enforced. Furthermore a permit may have to be obtained. Back to the smoke detectors: Code says that only an licensed electrician or a certified person in smoke detectors can install and maintain a hard wired smoke detector, same will be for the Carbon Monoxide detectors which came into law recently (battery ones anyone can install). As for ANY light fixture, if it is a new installation - not replacing something existing - then it requires a licensed electrician or one who works under a licensed electrician. Permits may have to be obtained also. Pgrech


Question #346: I live in a multiple dwelling with 20 apartments. In the lease, washing machines in the apartments are a violation. Is the landlord responsible for supplying a laundry facility on the premises and if not, shouldn't we be able to have washers in our apartments? Post your answer

Answer: No, I don't believe the owner must either install a laundry facility in your building OR allow machines in apartments. The alternatives are to use a dry cleaners or a laundromat type facility.


Question #341: I live in a co-op located in Yonkers (Bronxville Post Office). My building has about 80 units, was built in 1935 and went co-op about 1985. I would like to know if the Multiple Dwelling Law Section 79 relating to heating requirements applies to co-ops. Post your answer

Answer: It is not covered under the Multiple Dwelling Law, as this law only covers New York City. It is however covered under the Housing Maintenance Code which is a State code or law, Sub. 2 - Article 8. Pgrech


Question #340: Are plastic garbage cans acceptable for the storage of garbage in a multiple dwelling, or must they be metal? Are plastic garbage cans acceptable for the handling of recyclables? Post your answer

Answer: Yes they are. Make sure the plastic cans have tight fitting lids. Pgrech


Question #339: Is there any requirement for the hopper doors on a residential incinerator to automatically lock when the incinerator is in operation? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is a New York City Fire Department violation. Hopper doors must have a hydraulic attachment that closes the hopper door after it has been opened. The hopper door when left opened allows smoke and ashes into the compactor room and hallways, residents may see the smoke in the hallways and mistake it for a fire. Hopper doors left open on the lower floors can hurt someone with poor eyesight if the flames are too high and the hopper door is open. Roberto Cardona

Answer: I didn't think there were any more incinerators in operation in New York City. As for the doors being "locked while the incinerator is in operation", I have not heard of that requirement. I recommend you call the Fire Department at 718-999-2000 (Fire Prevention) to get a definitive answer. To expand on Roberto's response, the hopper doors must also have a rubber inner flap that covers the hopper opening while the door is open.  Pgrech


Question #336: In New York State does a condominium of 4 buildings and 124 units have to have an on-premise super? Post your answer

Answer: Technically NO, because the New York City and New York State codes require either a superintendent, a janitor or an owner of the building to live in the building or within two hundred feet of the building, and if it is indeed a condo, then at least one of the owner(s) are probably living in the building. Nevertheless, for cleanliness and safety it's still very wise to have onsite building support and very dumb to overlook it. Complaints about your particular arrangement can be made with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD). See similar questions and answers on our Supers & Management Page.

Answer: To amplify the response above, the code also states that one super can only serve up to 65 apartments. You would either need to have a second super or hire part time help to help the super. Pgrech


Question #335: My building has a fire plan in the lobby that states the building is "combustible". What exactly does this mean in terms of the building's ability to withstand a fire. Also, are most pre-war buildings "combustible"? Post your answer

Answer: All building materials used, in pre- OR post-war construction, are combustible at the right temperature. More recently-constructed buildings in New York City must be built to current New York City code which is much more stringent than that which was in place when pre-war buildings were constructed, and which calls for the use of certain measures that will greatly slow down the speed at which a fire will spread within a building, such as drywall of a certain thickness, metal studs, metal-sheathed solid-core doors, etc. Combustible simply means that it was built under older Fire Code that did not mandate some of these fire-retardant measures. It's not that wholly different materials are in use, but mostly that the way buildings are constructed is somewhat different due to what we have learned about how a fire spreads.


Question #334: Is an annual inspection and valve pressure test required for freight elevators in NYC. Post your answer

Answer: Yes an annual inspection is required. IF the elevator (freight or otherwise) is a hydraulic elevator then the valve needs to be inspected and tested yearly as well. Pgrech


Question #330: I live in a family shelter. Where and to whom can I report building violations? Post your answer

Answer: Department of Buildings (DOB) or Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD); you can report violations online. Better yet call 311 and they will transfer you to HPD. Terrence Bishop


Question #329: I am confused by sections 27-382 of the building code. The building in question is a 15 story J-2 MD built in the late 80's. Am I correct in assuming that ALL post-1984 buildings regardless of occupancy group with more than 4 exit lights in stairs and corridors require an emergency power source or battery power equipment? With regard to existing buildings, are only those pre-1984 existing buildings in the occupancy groups listed in Section 27-382(b) affected? Simply put, would an J-2 MD built in 1987 require emergency back-up power? Would a J-2 MD built in 1980 require emergency back-up power. Post your answer

Answer: Check out the Department of Buildings (DOB) website.


Question #328: We are in a prewar 14 story Manhattan building. We do not currently have any residential space in the basement (although there may have been such a space something like 65 years ago). The basement faces the street on one side - officially below street level and is under the street level in other places. There is a co-op staff apartment on the first floor and we are wondering about expanding to the space beneath it. I am unable to reach the building department or other resource to find out if it can be done - can it? Post your answer

Answer: No doubt about it - you will have to contact the proper authorities to get a definitive answer to your question - this is NOT it. A good place to start would be the city's website at www.nyc.gov, follow the appropriate links to the Building Department and the applicable Codes and make some phone calls.


Question #327: Is it legal to have a gas stove that requires the oven to be lit manually when there is a 6 year old living in the apartment? Post your answer

Answer: It is not illegal to have one with infants or children in the house, and the landlord has no obligation to give you a new stove - but a working stove. But you can always talk to management about getting a new stove. It would be added to your rent as an "MCI" (Major Capital Improvements) increase, which means your rent would go up by 1/40 of the cost of the stove per month, so at a cost of $400 for a new stove, the rent increase would be $10 per month. Pgrech


Question #321: We live in a large 92 unit pre-war building on the East Side. We burn number 6 oil and there is a separate room in the basement that holds the oil storage tank. Someone has been storing a number of flammable objects in the same room as the storage tank (wood, etc) . Is that legal and who is the agency that monitors such? Also, this oil tank smells strongly when it is filled up. Could it be leaking and who checks for that? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is a fire hazard, no flammable or combustible materials may be stored in the boiler room - period. A fire inspector can fine you. Roberto Cardona

Answer: Roberto's answer is correct, but to expand on the answer, there is NO storage allowed in the fuel oil storage room. Also explosion-proof fixtures are the only fixtures that can be placed in the room. NYFD, Dept. of Fire Prevention is the agency to contact (718-999-2000) for more information. The smell you are smelling during tank filling is the air escaping from the tank's vent line. This is normal. Peter Grech


Question #319: In NYS are apartment complexes required to have carbon monoxide detectors? What about Radon? Post your answer

Answer: NO at this moment carbon monoxide detectors are not required for apartments in New York City. Radon has no affect on the first floor and up; radon is mostly a problem in basements in rural and suburban areas. Pgrech

Answer: Mayor Bloomberg just amended the Local Law #7 to read: To amend the administrative code of the city of N.Y., in relation to requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detecting devices in buildings classified in occupancy groups G, H-2, J-1, J-2 and J-3. Please check your buildings and see what it is classified as. Mike MacGowan


Question #318: With the new lead law that went into effect on August 2, 2004, evidently Superintendents and other building workers not trained in lead paint removal, cannot work in the public spaces of a building where lead paint exists (or may exist) doing plastering, painting, or any other work that might disturb the paint. Additionally, they cannot work to access plumbing & electric where lead paint might be disturbed. Where can these staff members get trained in lead paint removal in NYC and how long is the training process? Post your answer

Answer: There are many courses pertaining to lead and lead removal. However, be careful, and only a few of these courses meet the Local 1 2004 Lead Law paint. Call the Real Estate Board of New York at 212-532-3100. They will answer all your lead law paint questions and tell you when the next class is available. Keep in mind the Supers Technical Association is holding a workshop on lead paint given by HPD at our next meeting in September. Pgrech


Question #316: A recent electrical inspection on my apartment revealed that all of my major appliances are running off of one electric line. This has been an ongoing problem since I've lived in the apartment almost 5 years. Is my building responsible to fix this problem? Post your answer

Answer: Your situation is not uncommon. Many old buildings have only 4 circuits. These buildings were built in the days when electrical appliances were not in common use - or even invented yet. The answer is NO, the building is NOT responsible to upgrade your electric due to you having more appliances then what the system was designed for. If you had an electrical problem such as a short circuit, etc, then yes the repair of the short is a building responsibility. One solution: see how much total amperage is available in your apartment. If the answer is at lest 80 to 100 amps then you can discuss with the manager how much would it cost to add two more lines, usually - 15 or 20 amps each. In most cases a building will upgrade the circuits at the request of the tenant and pass along the cost. Pgrech

Answer: You have a common problem that most people solve, providing there is enough amperage, by breaking up outlets into separate circuits. Of course, electrical work could be costly depending on the extent of the work. Eugene Marabello


Question #313: Is there a requirement that a two family dwelling in New York City have access to the roof? Post your answer

Answer: The answer is no.


Question #312: I have been told that using PVC pipe to run a condensate drain line (from an A/C system air handler) inside an interior wall is a code violation in New York City, and it must be copper. Is this fact or fiction? The building is a 5-story 10,000 sq. ft. rental property. Post your answer

Answer: Sorry to say, its a fact. NYC plumbing codes do not allow PVC for multiple dwellings, inside or outside the walls. Pgrech


Question #311: An apartment we are looking to move into has separate meters and water heaters for each apartment. Is the owner still required by law to provide heat and hot water? She said no. Our realtor says yes. Post your answer

Answer: Heat and hot water must be maintained by the owner. HOWEVER, the heat and hot water are paid for by the renter which is usually included in the price of the rent. In your situation you are paying for it directly, which should reflect in a lower rent of sorts. Keep in mind that the owner must pay for repairs and maintenance to the equipment even if you are paying for the fuel or electricity to run it. 
 


Question #301: I live in a building with terraces. Many terraces have propane grills which violates FDNY regulations. What is the best way to enforce these regulations? Post your answer

Answer: If your building is a co-op or condo then the rules should state that no open flame is allowed. If it is a rental it is stated in the lease. The managing agent must enforce the rules and/or leases. Make a list and notify the managing agent, who in turn should write letters to those residents reminding them of the rules, and asking them not to use open flames on terraces. Pgrech


Question #298: Is it legal to have a fire exit door inside a bedroom (a door leading to the public hallway)? This is in a Manhattan co-op with 12 residential units, which does not have a fire escape or sprinkler system and therefore is required to have two exits from each apartment. If you know the answer, I would appreciate if you could give me a reference. Post your answer

Answer: Yes. You may find the answer in the New York City Building Code: "Title C, Part II, Chapter One, subchapter six "Means of Egress." Pgrech


Question #297: I live in a large pre-war building and am concerned about the electric wires within my walls being old and worn. I am consistently blowing fuses and recently saw what lies behind one of the switch plates. It was quite scary looking. My building manager's response has been "you realize the building is old, right". While I do realize that the building is old, at what point does it become necessary to rewire? Post your answer

Answer: At what point do you say its time to replace the wires in the walls? Good question. Your building was built before the explosion of electrical conveniences of modern times. Best advice is to use the wires for what they were designed for, and that is very little load, or call HPD and ask for an inspection. If you request the wiring be changed, then most probably you will be subject to a rent increase.  Pgrech


Question #295: I rent the second floor in a two story, two family house. My landlord lives downstairs. Since I moved in 4 months ago I have asked him repeatedly to install a handrail in the stairway and a cover plate on two electrical outlets which have no faceplates. He promises to do it soon but nothing happens. I'm pretty sure building codes mandate stair handrails and electrical code mandates cover plates. How else should I proceed with him? I have 2 small children who need railings and cover plates. Post your answer

Answer: A two family house DOES NOT come under the Multiple Dwelling Law or the Housing Maintenance Code. Therefore the two items you have listed - although they are a matter of building codes - are not enforceable by HPD or DHCR. So I would buy two cover plates cost of a buck each and put the plate on. It's simple to do. I would also write the landlord putting him on notice that without the handrails he/she will be held personally responsible for any accidents that may happen as a result of his/her negligence by refusing to install a handrail. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. Pgrech


Question #288: Are multiple dwelling owners required to provide a stove and refrigerator? Is there any requirement for the replacement of appliances? Post your answer

Answer: There are no requirements under the Housing Maintenance Code of New York City or under the Multiple Dwelling Law of New York State that require the landlord to supply appliances in an apartment. However, that does not mean the landlord is not required to maintain appliances. The key here is: What are the terms of the lease? And is the apartment rent controlled, rent stabilized or decontrolled. See also Question # 264. Pgrech


Question #287: Is there any requirement for the periodic inspection and maintenance of gas stoves by the owners of multiple dwellings? Post your answer

Answer: There is no place in the Code that states a gas stove needs a periodic inspection by the landlord. However, if you feel uncomfortable with your stove or suspect anything, call the landlord's office or the superintendent and ask for an inspection. It's best to be on the safe side of things. DO NOT call your gas company -- call the super or management. Pgrech


Question #286: Is there any high limit in heating temperature? Our super overheats the building: even if it is 60F degrees outside, the heating is running and the average temperature is 90F in my apartment. To whom should I complain? Our management does not care. Post your answer

Answer: I do not believe there is an upper limit to heating. Some buildings are not heat balanced well and some apartments must overheat to get the colder ones up to the correct temperature. This, however, wastes energy and money and there are definitely ways to correct this problem. If the management will not do anything, you could pay to install temperature responsive valves in your own unit that will work automatically to reduce the amount of heat in the radiators. However, I would push to get a professional in to do a study to determine if there are system wide solutions to your problem which will provide greater comfort and save the building money. Joe Lambert

Answer: No, there is not a high limit to heat on the books. There are many different ways to attack this problem, some of them depending on your particular building, the heating system in play, even the money available by owner/management for upgrades and repairs. If the super does not care (he/she should), and the management also doesn't care (the landlord and management are paying for this waste and should want to address the problem, especially if asked by a tenant) then there is very little you can do, short of using your own money to find solutions.


Question #284:  What is the furthest span between hangers for  2" / 10 ' acoustical ceiling channel iron in the NYC building code? Post your answer

Answer:


Question #282: Brooklyn has numerous loft spaces being renovated by the tenants themselves without permits and without licensed electricians or plumbers etc. Often the spaces do not meet code when leased initially as (implicitly residential) "lofts." So if the leaseholder who has made these unlicensed improvements shares or sublets the space, who bears responsibility in the case of fire, etc.? Post your answer

Answer:


Question #273: I am looking to purchase several window-mounted air conditioners to use in my Brooklyn apartment. It is a two bedroom that I share with a roommate. We might install as many as three units, one for each bedroom and one for the dining room/kitchen. How do we know the best amount of BTU's to get in relation to the space AND that the electrical wiring will be able to sustain it, given that many of the components of the building were apparently not  completed to code? Post your answer

Answer: First, take the measurements of the room (length, width, height), and determine the BTUs needed. Figure out (you can use the calculator here) the size of the a/c unit you will need for each room (in BTUs). Then you must figure out if the a/c units of the BTU size you need will be supported by the existing electrical system in your apartment, because three units running at the same time may blow your fuses or trip your circuit breakers - if they're on the same circuit with other heavy electric users. If you determine that you can have the three units, get models that have thermostats, this way your unit will turn off at a predetermined temperature. Most important of all, always keep the doors closed, and you can get a fan to circulate the air, that would help also. Also, find information on the EER (energy efficiency rating) for appliances here. Roberto Cardona


Question #272: I would like to know requirements of the landlord to maintain smoke detectors within each unit as well as in the hallways. I live in a building consisting of 4 units. Post your answer

Answer: To my knowledge, a smoke detector should be installed between the kitchen and each bed room, If the bedrooms are side by side only one smoke detector is needed. If the bedrooms are not side by side, that is, one on each side of the kitchen or thereabouts, then two smoke detectors are needed. (Buying a kitchen fire extinguisher wouldn't be a bad idea -- of course you would have to pay for this). Last but not least, each hallway must have a smoke detector on each floor (in a new or totally renovated building). It's the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the smoke detector if it is NOT on a central system, i.e., it uses batteries, so don't forget that batteries must be checked and keep an extra battery in the house. You didn't mention if you have a gas boiler - if you do, it's a good idea to install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector as well. Roberto Cardona


Question #271: Does anyone know where I can find the HPD regulation sign for THE KEY TO THE HEATING SIGN IS LOCATED AT...and the SMOKE DETECTOR requirement sign? We have an old HPD violation we are trying to cure. I know we can just have one made up but we are paying to have the city inspector come out and would rather have one that he will pass 100%. I heard there was a hardware store on the west side that carried them, but not sure which one. Post your answer

Answer: Call 212-675-3846, ask for Willie. Tell him that Peter Grech referred you about the two signs. He does not stock them but can get them in a few days. Pgrech


Question #268: Can a Super's common-law report him from not having a smoke detector in the apartment? Post your answer

Answer: Of course it COULD be done. Why anyone, who is not a vindictive idiot, would WANT to do that to his/her "common-law" may be the real question. I would ask that person, why not just go ahead and install a smoke detector yourself? They're inexpensive and anyone can drive a few screws, no?


Question #267: In a 50-year-old five-storey apartment building, what does New York City building code specify as to time on and flow for an interior bathroom vent? Post your answer
 

Answer: 5 CFM is the minimum standard. The most commonly used test is to take one square of toilet paper and hold it up to the vent. The draw from the vent should be able to hold the paper in position. Pgrech


Question #264: I am new to New York City from Georgia; the laws are very different here. My question: Is the owner of my apartment required to furnish me with stove and fridge in a rental unit. It is a 3 family building. He says I need to purchase both appliances. Is this true? Post your answer

Answer: I've read the applicable sections in the Multiple Dwelling Law of New York State and the City's Housing Maintenance Code, and I could find nowhere that a landlord MUST provide a stove and a refrigerator to a tenant. Why they wouldn't want to do so is beyond my comprehension, however. To not do so would make an apartment much harder to rent, for starters.


Question #260: 10 years ago I moved into a rent stabilized apartment that someone was subletting. The previous tenant tried to sell me lock and key burglar gates. I declined. When he vacated the apartment they were still there. I have just moved out and the landlord is insisting I pay for removal. The landlord did not perform a walk-through between their tenancy and mine and is charging me for a lot of stuff the previous tenant did. Any Advice? Post your answer

Answer: The landlord has the burden of proof. If they can show no paperwork that a previous walkthrough was done how can they prove you owe them anything? However, if they have your security deposit, you may want to prove your side of the story, and if you can't, the landlord can probably get away with keeping enough to cover removal.


Question #256: What are the required permits for a 6 story apartment building in Queens with a garage, and how often are they to be renewed. Post your answer

Answer: Your question is too vague. Your best bet is to ask a real estate broker in your neighborhood. Pgrech


Question #251: What are the Building Codes relating to the removal of abandoned cables. Post your answer

Answer: Start by checking out the New York City Department of Building's electrical code here.

Answer: No code is found for the removal of phone cables or cable TV cables. Pgrech


Question #237: What is required by the electrical code for installation of hard-wired smoke detectors in new and/or completely renovated NYC apartments? Where should they be and what, if any, are the placement requirements with regard to nearby walls, etc.? Post your answer

Answer: Any building undergoing a total renovation is required to have hard wired smoke detectors. As for the codes, if your building is going through such renovations, then the professional building engineer as well as the professional licensed electrician who have been hired will know what codes must be complied with. All work must be filed with the Department of Buildings. If you want to know the exact code requirements, go to the NYC and NYS electrical codes as they are too long to quote here. Pgrech


Question #236: I live in an apartment building with 18 units. Are we required by law to have a super? We have a porter who comes and clean and take out the garbage. But none that we know of that stays on the premises. Where should this notice be kept on how to locate the super. What should we do if it is after hours and management offices are closed, and the porter is no longer on the premises. And to whom and how to file a complaint if you suspect that we don't have adequate help maintaining our residence. Post your answer

Answer: The NYC and state codes require either a superintendent, a janitor or an owner of the building to live in the building or within two hundred feet of the building. A notice in the vestibule of the building must be posted with the persons name, address and phone number. The other option is to have 24 hour janitorial service. All complaints should be made with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD). Pgrech


Question #232: I live in a building that has 5 units. I'd like to know if landlord is supposed to live next door to property in reference to tenants privacy? Post your answer

Answer: There is no law prohibiting the landlord/building owner from living next door or even in the building where his/her tenants live. Pgrech


Question #231: I am a shareholder in a Queens co-op, and was wondering if there is any legal limit or Code to how many people can occupy a studio or 1-bedroom apartment? Post your answer

Answer: There is NO legal limit (in the City codes) on how many people can live in an apartment as to NUMBERS. The lease, or in a co-op/condo the proprietary lease, however would govern how many occupants are allowed. Pgrech


Question #204: If it is too hot in the apartments, what law governs this? Post your answer

Answer: There is no "maximum heat law" governing too much heat, only minimum heat requirements, when there is too little heat.


Question #198: I live in a 20 story building with about 260 units. This is a post war building with central heating and air conditioning, with oil fired boiler. When I inquired about adding a roof deck I was advised that this would be unhealthy and that people that used it could literally turn green. I was never able to get another explanation. Other than structural issues, what are other areas of concern with adding a roof deck, especially health concerns. Post your answer

Answer: There may indeed be health issues: If I read the question right you are in a central air-conditioned building, so there is usually a cooling tower. The cooling tower many years ago was responsible for Legionnaires Disease. Poor maintenance of this equipment can lead to sickness. The cooling tower water has chemicals added to it. So a proper answer depends on the maintenance of the cooling tower, as well as how close any planned deck is to the cooling tower. Pgrech

Answer: There are NO health concerns with adding a roof deck, unless you want to consider the construction noise from building it, or the sunburn you might get from sunning yourself on it. Whoever told you that a roof deck could turn you green is either a kook or was playing with you.


Question #197: Where can I find a standard sprinkler/standpipe inspection form to use for my monthly inspections? Post your answer

Answer: This is a very simple form you can get from any superintendent who has a standpipe and sprinkler system in their building. If you still have a problem getting the forms feel free to contact me at cardona1009@aol.com, we can work something out and make them available to you. Roberto Cardona


Question #196: I just recently moved into a home converted to 4 different units. The heat is included, and that is the problem. Under habitability laws, how warm must the landlord keep the home. I have talked to several residents and they to have said the place is extremely cold. On average 58-62 degrees. Post your answer

Answer: It appears, after reading some of the applicable law about landlords supplying heat in the Housing Maintenance Code AND the section on heat in the Multiple Dwelling Law, that your heat may be below the minimums set by those laws. However, the question remains whether or not the building in which you live comes under these laws or not. I believe it does, but it's something you must determine for yourself. You can always call 311 and file a heat complaint when you believe the heat is too low, and take it from there.


Question #192: The landlord provides heating in our apartment block. What are his responsibilities regarding when the heating comes on and how long it stays on? Post your answer

Answer: The very basic minimum requirements for heat are enforced by the City; further information is available here.


Question #188: My new landlord is planning to install an electronic key/magnetic lock proximity card system at our entrance doors. The tenants are concerned with the failure rate of this new system and the restriction of access to the building. Are landlords allowed to restrict access to the entrance doors (in rent stabilized buildings). Do these systems fail during blackouts? How else might they fail? Post your answer

Answer: There is no Code limiting the use of card entry, as opposed to key entry, for rent stabilized apartments. If the landlord is wise, he would install a battery back up, which would not cost much more to install. I prefer the old key system, but that's just me. Keep in mind that even though you pay rent, it is still the landlord's property, and therefore he can restrict entry only to tenants and family who live with them. Visitors are treated the same way as the usual key way. By using a card system, it is better protection for the building in general as you can not make copies and give them out to people. Pgrech


Question #182: I need the phone number to report lack of heat in my building. Post your answer

Answer: 311. This is now the only number to use for ALL non-emergency calls to the City. Lack of heat in your building, while it is important especially as it gets colder, comes under non-emergencies. That number is 311. (See the advertisement for 911 and 311 in the left column of this page, near the bottom).


Question #181: What are the rules for permanently affixing window gates/bars to the exterior of a building? Is this consider a fire hazard? What is the NYC Building Code, if any, for this? Post your answer

Answer: The New York City Health Code (Section 131.15) requires DOHMH-approved window guards to be installed and maintained by the owner, manager, or agent of a multiple dwelling (building with three or more units). Each year, landlords or managers must give tenants a form that should be filled out and returned to inform the building landlord or manager if a child ten years of age or younger lives in the apartment. The tenant should also provide information on whether window guards need repair, or if window guards are requested even if no children live in the apartment. Tenants may not refuse window guards if they have a child ten years of age or younger living in the apartment. Dick Koral

Answer: First of all, safety bars are a safety code in multistory buildings in NYC where children are present. I'm sure that safety bars are not an issue so long as there is access to and from the apartment above the guard. Gates that cover the entire window must have quick releases or similar device to allow the quick opening of the gate in the event of a fire or other emergency requiring egress through the window. Gene Marabello


Question #173: In Manhattan a 20 Unit building has a fire exit that exits into a vacant lot. The lot is not owned by the building and is kept locked with a chain link fence. Is it legal to put the exit into someone else's property with permission. Post your answer

Answer: The fire code only requires egress to leave the building. However, the owner of this building should check into this issue and in particular see if there is an egress rider on the other building's deed. If this empty lot is ever developed, then there could be an egress problem with the Buildings Department. If not, then ultimately it is this building owner's responsibility to comply with the fire code. Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: Your question brings up a legal issue that we cannot answer on this site. However with or without permission, the fire escape must be available for the residents to exit the building without running into any obstructions. A locked gate that cannot be opened by the person exiting the fire escape is such an obstruction.  Your question may bring up new questions that will end up in costing a lot of money to cure. I am not saying that any one should put money before safety. But it is an issue if your building cannot afford to reroute the fire escape to the street. PGrech


Question #165: Is a landlord required by law to paint an apartment every time someone new signs a lease/moves into an apartment? Post your answer

Answer: No. Landlord is only obligated to paint once every three years or as required by law for Rent Controlled and/or Rent Stabilized leases. Read the specifics in New York City's Housing Maintenance Code, Subchapter 2, Article 3. PGrech


Question #164: Our landlord states that they filed for a permit to install a gas boiler when the weather was still warm. They say due to red tape it is taking longer than expected, and it will be another 4-6 weeks before we'll have heat. I'd like to be able to find out from the City "when exactly" they filed, if they got all the permits they need and if its really supposed to take 4-6 weeks to install a gas line and to hook up a gas boiler. Can I find this out on my own? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Not sure about the red tape. However, New York City and New York State laws state that the landlord MUST provide HEAT after Oct 1, when the temp goes below 55 degrees and must maintain an indoor temp of 68 between the hrs of 6 am to 10 pm. All other times the landlord must provide heat and maintain an indoor temp of 55 when the temp is below 40 [See heat requirements]. THATS THE LAW.  THE courts do not accept ANY excuses PERIOD. Your landlord is obligated to find other means of providing heat if the building's heating plant is unable to do so. PGrech


Question #162: Can anyone tell me whether or not my landlord is required to provide me with phone jacks in my apartment? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Phone jacks, like cable connections, are not part of the landlord's responsibility, unless specified in your lease. Pgrech

Answer: Of course it depends on the lease or rental agreement that you signed, but no lease/rental I've ever heard of has provided that the landlord installs your phone jacks for you. Normally the phone company must install at least one when the service is turned on -- if there are none available already -- and will install more for you if you wish, for a fee. If you want more installed now, call any of those people looking for work on our Situations Wanted page. At least some of them would be happy to help you out.


Question #156: What are the OSHA regulations for building employees? Do I need to offer training (work place safety, health issues, etc) in order to be compliant with OSHA standards? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Go to www.osha.gov and look around. Dick Koral


Question #155: I live in a high rise apartment building, and our kitchen gas stove does not have a vent. Isn't this a violation of some NYC law or regulation? The super won't do anything about it. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Currently there no building codes that state that a gas stove or oven (other than for commercial use) needs to be vented. So therefore you are NOT in violation. However, the building code does state that a kitchen must have two ways for air to flow.  Example, a door and a window or two doors in and out of the kitchen or a door and a vent from the kitchen. Specifically, no mechanical vent for a gas oven is needed in a residential kitchen other the above. PGrech


Question #145: What does the NEC code say about installing a meter loop on a manufactured home?

Answer: When electricians and others in construction talk about the NEC code they're most always talking about the National Electrical Code (NEC), and I assume that this is what you're referring to. The NEC is the product and responsibility of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and you can purchase a copy of  the most recent National Electrical Code online at the above link. Other sites concerning the NEC can be found by searching Google, entering "NEC Code" as search parameters.

If anyone reading this has a current copy of the NEC Code, maybe they can read it and answer your specific question.


Question #144: What's the legal size of a shed you can build without a permit? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: The answer depends on where you're located. If you're in New York City, check with the Department of Buildings. Start at their website; if you don't find the answer there, call them and speak to someone knowledgeable. If outside of New York City, check the building codes in your locality.


Question #143: How often does the PRV on a standpipe hose rack have to be inspected, according to the DOB? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Possibly someone else reading this will know the correct answer and write in, but you can start by checking with the Department of Buildings.


Question #140: I rent in a two family building with the landlord living upstairs. I replaced a very old light switch that wasn't working anymore. Behind the switch there was no metal box, the switch was just screwed to wood. I thought this was a fire hazard, and told her about it (she's quite old). She said its been like that for years, why should we worry? Where do I stand legally? Should I be worried? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Since the building has been around for a long time, and you haven't had problems in the past, you probably won't have any problems in the future, as long as you don't overload the circuit. Overloading the circuit will overheat the wires, which could cause a fire.

Answer: I would forget the legal issues. The installation is unsafe. Report the problem to the Dept. of Buildings. Dick Koral


Question #139: I'm building a shed in my back yard, it's 16' by 10' feet and almost 14' feet high. Do I need a building permit? One of my neighbors said I couldn't do it without one. Is this true in Staten Island? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Yes, it's true, you need a permit. To get the permit you may have to submit plans.

Answer: In many places -- and Staten Island may be one of them -- you do NOT need a permit for a "portable" storage shed. Many of these storage sheds of the size you are building are constructed off site and transported to the owner's home. You should be able to find definitive information on this (or find out WHERE to go to find out) at the Department of Buildings website.


Question #127: I am wondering if I am allowed to use PVC pipes in my basement rather than cast iron pipes. I live in Brooklyn in a 2 family house. I'm trying to replace the cast iron pipes in my basement with PVC pipes. Is this violating any rules? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: It is illegal in NYC (all boroughs) to install PVC, period. No part of the plumbing can be made of PVC. This includes a new installation or a simple repair, one family or multifamily, doesn't matter. However, the code does not state whether PVC can or can not be used outdoors. PGrech


Question #126: A client of mine opened up a 99 cents store in Queens county and would like to put up a canopy sign with his business name on it. Does he need a license or permit to do so? If so, how do we go about getting a license? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Go to New York City's official site: www.nyc.gov and search the site, and to the Queens Borough President's site at www.queensbp.org.  You will find which agency to contact, if not the answer to your specific question. Or you may want to start at the Queens office of the Department of Buildings, at

126-06 Queens Blvd., 3rd & 4th Fl., Kew Gardens, NY 11415-1554
Tel: (718) 520-3422  TTY: (718) 520-2445

Answer: You could call two or three awning companies from the Yellow Pages and ask them, you probably will get a faster answer. If the canopy has no pole supports touching the side walk, usually NO permit is required. Also it would depend on how far it will extend out over the sidewalk.


Question #90: Re: exit signs in New York City locations, I have been told by our safety section that we need to install exit signs in our unmanned 12x12 pumping stations, with one door in and out. My questions are as follows: 1) does an unmanned location 12x12 and smaller with one door need a sign? 2)Now that we follow the 1999 NEC does the letters still have to be 8" as per the old City code or can they be 6"? Is there a city building code not allowing just an EXIT sticker placed near the door with an emergency light shinning on it? as per OSHA that would work, but how about the building code or fire code? Can anyone find or help me track in print where I can find these answers. If not just tell me what you think. Thanks in advance. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Check out the Department of Buildings website at: www.nyc.gov/html/dob/home.html. We cover multi-family residential building questions.

Answer: Your question is very complex as it crosses over many government agencies. Your question may better be answered by an architect or engineer. You might also ask the Department of Buildings. PGrech


Question #89: I am a board member for an 80+ unit co-op in Brooklyn. The management company has an adversarial relationship with the super. They often ask the super to do certain repair jobs during their time, which he will refuse to do, saying that they are too big and require additional compensation. Last weekend a pipe burst behind a unit wall. The super shut off the water but has done nothing since then (it is now during the normal work week). The management has asked him to fix it and repair the wall (which is a gaping hole in it now) but he says that it's too big a job and that he should be paid extra for it. The management says that he should do what they ask him to do when it's during the work week, and he is certainly up to the task of fixing the wall. Prior to moving into this building, I have never had a super before, and I don't know what is appropriate for him to do or not to do in the building. Is there a place where this is defined? I don't believe that he is a part of any union. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Housing and Building Codes state that anytime a repair is needed inside the wall, a licensed plumber is to do the work. Your insurance company would also insist on that, should the repair fail and cause more damage.

We are all human. Think about you and your work with extra work loads? Would you be happy to have to do more work than you are hired to do without fair compensation? I don't know the conditions that the super was hired under, nor the terms of his "contract" and his Job Description. Seems to me you need to communicate to the super what has to be done, and when he can get extra compensation.
PGrech
Question #88: I live in a big old pre-war co-op. Recently there has been hot water in one toilet that eventually becomes cool, but this is not normal. The super ignores my requests (he does not really know what the problem is but won't admit such) but I have talked to some plumbers and they say it is a backup of some kind - that there is this hot water in the cold water line. Previously there was a nonstop running water noise under the rear of this same toilet (water now low or any visible movement in the bowl) and the super said it was in all the apartments above though I spoke with the residents and they denied this. Help! Also, should a super be fixing a shutoff valve inside the wall? Isn't this a city violation? The building has him do fairly major plumbing to save money but he has no license and does sloppy work. Thanks. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: There may be a apartment in the same line that has a handheld shower head with hose. Sometimes the person using the device shuts off the water after taking a shower by shutting off the water at the showerhead instead of shutting off the faucet handles. By doing this the hot and cold water will continue to mix and then the entire line will get hot water in the cold water line. This has happened to me a couple of times in two different buildings. Mike MacGowan


 
Question #80: I am paying $1,650 per month for a 2 1/2 bedroom apartment in Bayridge, Brooklyn in a two family house. The rent is premium but many facilities in the apartment are not. The windows are really old and there is cold air coming in when there is wind, most of the doors in the rooms do not close, there is little or no water pressure in the bathtub, and there is no way to open the front door from within the apartment unless we go down stairs and open it. I have spoken to the owner several times and he ignores us. What can I do? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Your problem is a legal one, and would best be discussed with an attorney. Two-family houses don't fall under many City Government agencies. However your landlord may or may not be in violation of the lease pertaining to the Warranty of Habitability or to repairs. See your lease. Pgrech

The following is taken from nyc.gov in reference to the Warranty of Habitability:


Warranty Of Habitability
Tenants have the right to reside in a comfortable, safe, and sanitary apartment. Landlords must provide heat and hot water on a regular basis. They also must control insect/pest infestation. If a landlord breaches this agreement, the tenant may sue for a rent reduction. The tenant may also withhold rent for recurring conditions, but in response, the landlord may sue the tenant for nonpayment of rent. In such a case, the tenant may counter sue for breach of the warranty. Any adverse condition caused by the tenant or other persons under the tenant's direction or control does not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability by the landlord. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the tenant to remedy the condition. Rent reductions may be ordered if a court finds that the landlord violated the warranty of habitability. The reduction is computed by subtracting from the actual rent, the estimated value of the apartment without the essential services. A landlord's liability for damages may be limited when the failure to provide services is the result of circumstances beyond the landlord's control. For example, a water main break or workers' strike. In cases of emergency or neglect by the landlord, tenants may make necessary repairs and deduct the reasonable repair costs from rent when due. For example, when a landlord has been notified that a sink is leaking and willfully neglects to repair it, the tenant may hire a plumber and deduct the cost from the rent. Tenants should obtain receipts for the repairs and present them to the landlord along with a written explanation of the deduction from the rent.

Question #78: I live on the 5th floor of a 30 unit apartment building in Manhattan and I have two questions:

1) Whenever I shower, the water temperature goes from boiling hot to freeze cold in a matter of milliseconds, making it very hard to shower. Why does this happen and is there anything I or the Super can do?

2) Our boiler is broken at least twice a week, and my apartment is left freezing cold. I have lived here for a year and its the same thing. Can I do anything? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: The problems you relate translate into serious violations of the city's department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) Housing Maintenance Code. Don't blame the super. The owner probably will not pay for repairs that needs be done by an outside mechanic. Do call the HPD emergency heating number (call for information or check their website) and once an inspector finds the apartment cold, he will give the owner a short time to fix, otherwise HPD will fix and bill the owner. Dick Koral


Question #73: I was wondering if anyone could shed light upon the super's duties concerning pest control. Basically, I have mice, lots of them, crawling around my apartment and eating my dog's food. My dog has a self feeder and that is the ONLY food that is not refrigerated in my house. I addressed the situation with my superintendent and they told me that I have to wait a month until the exterminator comes again (I was never informed that he comes monthly. They told me that there's a posting of this in the trash room of the apartment building, which I later found. It was about the size of a post-it.) Anyway, they sort of gave me this 'there's nothing we can do' song and dance aside from suggesting I get glue traps and other devices that I'm afraid my dog might get into. Is it MY responsibility as a tenant to keep the building pest-free or the super's? Any information will be greatly appreciated. I want to be a little more informed before I talk with my super again tomorrow. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: It is really both YOUR responsibility to keep your apartment relatively free of pests, AND your landlord's. You must do what you can (and there are lots of things you can do) to be pest-free, and your landlord has an obligation to treat for pests at least once a month IF you ask for it.

So the first thing you can do is ask for it. It is your right. The second most important thing you can do is take ALL food away from the pests, thus giving them a disincentive to pay you a visit. Yes, that means the dog food also. Figure out another way, because they will seek you out if you give them a reason.

The super is correct, he doesn't have to do more than the one monthly extermination. What is ethical to do is another thing, but you probably can't demand more of him without looking like the bad guy. You could ask him to come by and close all the holes where the mice can enter and exit. Some supers are open to that, others aren't, but it is well within their scope of duties.

Many people do very well with a hungry cat, although if you already have a dog you may not want a cat also. Good luck.


Question #69: I am a new member and I was at the last meeting we had in Brooklyn about removing lead. It was very informative and I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next meeting. My question is: What is the rule on superintendents having to reside at the place that they work? I work in a 125 unit condo but I do not reside there. Does the landlord have to provide me with an apartment by law? I heard if it's more then 16 units, by law there has to be a live-in super. Do you have an answer? What happens if the employer does not provide an apartment even though he has to by law? What can be done? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: First of all lets get it right. If you are in a condo or co-op, there is no landlord but there is a board of directors. Second: the first law you are misquoting is the Housing Maintenance Code. Article 13, which states "a building of 9 apartment or more" and the second law you misquoted is the Multiple Dwelling Law Article 3/title 83, which states "a dwelling with thirteen or more tenants." Both articles state either/or... a 24 hour janitor or housekeeper or a janitor residing in the building or a janitor residing within 200 feet of the building, or the agent or owner lives in the building. Since you building is a CONDO, that means most people who live there own the apartment and building, which satisfies both articles of the law. Peter Grech


Question #65: I am running an electrical service in my pole building. I am going to run an auxiliary box off my main box in my house. I will put a 100 amp box in my building. (Probably will never use over 40 to 50 amps at one time.) How heavy a gage underground wire should I install? I am running approx. 150 to 175 feet to the building. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: You should be calling a licensed electrician to perform this kind of work. You don't know where any lines are underneath the ground.
Mike MacGowan
Question #63: When does a multiple dwelling building require that a Super must be a full time paid employee. Where do I find that law that covers that. Thank in advance for the help. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: The multiple dwelling law requires that a building have 24 hour maintenance if there are 13 or more apartments. The super must either live in the building or within 200 feet of the front door.
Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: There is also a Housing Maintenance Code that states 9 apartment or more (Article 3 title 3 sec 83). The Multiple Dwelling code is Article 13. You may obtain both from City Books, either online or call information.
Peter Grech
Question #62: My apartment had a renovation 3 years ago and now the building told me my contractor didn't give the electrical sign-offs on the apt. Can someone explain to me what exactly I have to do to get the sign-offs? I'm unable to get any answers from the building manager & the super from the building. Thanks very much in advance! Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: You need to go back to your contractor and talk to him. You need the name of the electrical contractor who did the work. Unfortunately an electrical permit is only good for one year. So you may need to get the job refiled and schedule an inspection for the final sign off. Check with your architect.
Jeff Eichenwald
Question #59: I would like to know what kind of sprinkler system is used in libraries. Because I will think that the water system to extinguish a fire will damaged the books. I truly appreciate your help. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: A combination wet and dry system. In this system the pipes in the library have no water. In the event of a fire the smoke from the fire would set off the smoke detector, the smoke detector would send an electrical signal that would allow the clapper to open (the clapper is the metal trap door that restricts the water from entering the sprinkler system in the library), the fire melts the solder on the sprinkler heads and the system does battle with the fire. Be aware of the fact that the sprinkler system stays on until the fire department turns it off and resets it, for the simple reason that if the fire is too overwhelming they have to turn the system off and battle it themselves. (If the fire is too overwhelming, then the water from the sprinkler will vaporize and cause severe heat burns to the firemen). This is the reason the emergency shut off is located outside on the sidewalk with a sign indicating its location and function.
Roberto Cardona

Answer: Fires extinguished by sprinkler systems consume, on average, one-sixth the water of fires extinguished by hoses. There are several reasons for this other than the usual blame for macho firemen: Sprinklers respond faster, so the fire gets put out before it spreads very far. Water damaged books can be restored, while smoke and soot and fire damaged books cannot. Therefore, a sprinkler system is the best protection for a library.

Answer: I think that you are right. A sprinkler system would be inappropriate for a library. And I know that there are some very fine special fire protection systems for this situation which use a gas that smothers the fire, rather than water.

Since you have access to the Internet, set your browser to nyc.gov, the City's Web site, look on the left and see "City Agencies" and click on it. A drop-down menu will allow you to find Fire Department, click on that, then search the FD pages. If you cannot find the answer, you will find someplace on that site a way to ask them, either by phone or email.

It may be much easier, however, to drop by a public library and ask to speak to the custodian/superintendent. He will probably have the answer to your question.

Question #58: I have two windows in my apartment that are a potential security problem. One goes out onto a common patio area, and another to the fire escape. This makes both windows accessible to other tenants of the building. Is my landlord required to put window gates/bars on these windows for my safety, or is this the tenant's responsibility. Thanks in advance! Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Your landlord is not required to supply window gates. Only latch locks on the windows or window guards if there are children less than 10 years old in the apartment. If you choose to put in window gates yourself, you must use a fire department approved gate on the fire escape window. These gates do not have key locks but use a restricted access latch.

Question #57: I live in a brownstone with seven apartments. The building entrance consists of two sets of doors. A double street door that opens to a 6' x 5' vestibule in which are located the mailboxes and apartment bells. There is another set of double doors that are usually locked and one is required to use a key or be buzzed in. I noticed that all other buildings that do not have a doorman in my neighborhood have the outer street doors locked with the bells located on the outside. Does anyone know what the code or regulation is that would require this? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: In NYC it is against the building code to have both sets of doors locked. Only the "inner door can be locked". However, you are correct most buildings ignore this law, because it is a minor violation. You can have the intercom relocated to the outer doors and a special Post Office lock box for the front door key for lettercarrier use only.
Peter Grech
Question #56: Is it required to have all garbage cans covered? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Yes it is, in New York City. Whether or not it's enforceable - that's another matter. You can learn everything you want to know about sanitation at www.nyc.gov/sanitation.

Question #55: Painting of interior walls of occupied apartments: Plainsview Apartments (Wilkes-Barre, PA) is starting some painting of a few of the apartments here with a new outside painter who is moonlighting from his real job as a school bus driver, I'm told. He has experience in painting of private homes and he has painted an empty apartment prior to new tenant moving in. He has never before painted an occupied residential unit and now he'll be moving furniture and belongings of the current tenant. (Our residents are always home, since they are disabled.)

Our concern here is if, in the course of this repainting of the walls, some personal property of the tenant is damaged or marred accidentally. Is the rental office management responsible for these damages that may arise in the process of shifting furniture, etc.? This painter has no commercial insurance, since he is painting as a freelance moonlighter. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Yes, the management company is responsible for any one they hire to do work in the building. Since there are usually no laws in most municipalities requiring licensing of painters, there is no legal reason why an uninsured painter could not be hired. However, it would be especially risky to use him to paint occupied apartments since there are possible theft and damage issues involved.

Question #54: Help! I have a big problem! I live in a cooperative building and my flushometer burst/exploded while I was at work. I have called a few plumbing companies, and they have not provide me with an answer as to what would cause this flushometer to burst with out any warning? I have now extensive damage done to my neighbors below my unit, which I am being made responsible for. The board will/refuse to advise me. They insist it is my problem, I have to pay for all the repairs. This is very sad, because I did nothing to cause this flushometer to burst. If anyone has any idea, please let me know. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Your "flush valve" (Flushometer is a trade name for one brand of flush valve) burst because of water hammer. Water hammer occurs when someone lets air into the water piping, and then someone opens a faucet and the air rushes out faster than water can, and then suddenly the water gets to the end of the run and then, boom!!! It's analogous to the difference between placing an encyclopedia on your foot and dropping an encyclopedia on your foot. Probably a plumber had been working on the piping and drained a pipe to work on it and then either filled the pipe too quickly by opening a valve too quickly, or didn't go to an upper floor to slowly let the air out. If it's a top floor, the air can accumulate because it comes out of solution as the pressure in the water pipe decreases at higher levels. Air vent valves are sometimes installed in tall buildings to take care of this, and yours might have an air valve that failed. One good way to determine if you have a failed air valve is to see if the flush valve explodes again.

Answer: Yes, as the owner of your apartment, it IS your problem.

Answer: If this were a condominium then the responsibility would definitely be yours. However, as you indicated that this is a cooperative, then technically you are a tenant of the cooperative corporation. The details of responsibility would normally be specified in your proprietary lease. You should read it, and in addition you may need to have a lawyer look at it. However, in most cases, the courts usually consider the cooperative corporation ultimately responsible unless someone can prove negligence on your part.

Question #51: Are sprinklers permitted in electric closets in the City of New York? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: The answer to your question is no. (I am a firefighter and a building superintendent).

Answer: Not only are sprinklers not permitted in electrical closets but the electrical closet must be CLEARLY signed on the door... " Electrical Closet. USE NO WATER. NO STORAGE PERMITTED"
Peter Grech

Question #43: Are landlords allowed to install window theft-security guards at fire escape windows? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Yes, Providing that the window/security guards are removable (such as a gate) when installed on a fire escape window. The tenant must be able to exit through the fire escape window.

Answer: Yes as long as they are Fire Department approved type guards. Peter Grech

Answer: For windows located at the fire escape, I went to the internet and found a Fire Department approved keyless fire escape gate at the following web site: http://sourcelineny.com/manhattan/index.html

I would imagine that this type of gate would not be made unless it was legal to use. I hope this answers your question.
Gene Marabello

Answer: I've seen the keyless security gate, the purpose was to offer security as well as safety. The gate works with a spring activated latch, therefore no lock is needed.

The other gates were outlawed because people would lose the key, or worse, during a fire they would panic and #1: were unable to find the key, #2: were unable to get key into the lock's keyway, #3: would break key inside of lock .
Roberto Cardona


Question #37: For an 85 foot feeder cable ,feeding a 125 amp panel what # wire is required? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Assuming two things, 1.There will not be more than 3 current carrying conductors in this feeder conduit and 2. The wires have THHN or THW type thermoplastic insulation, then you can use AWG # 0 wire.
Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: According to NYC code that would be #2 wire AWG. The length doesn't really matter as long as the length is under 150 to 175 feet. Then there is a formula to size it after that point.


Question #34: What is better to use, mechanical seals versus packing? What is the new code for NYC? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: To my knowledge, there is no code issue on this, except for fire pumps, which must use packing, not mechanical seals. As to which is 'better', there is no easy answer. Packing is inexpensive and easy to install. Mechanical seals are more expensive and harder to install. Packing must leak, seals shouldn't. But a pump that is packed is not simply converted to seals--it must be sent out for conversion.
Denton Taylor

Question #26: Could I get free NYC Electrical Code on-line? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: Go to http://www.nyc.gov on the Web. In search box, type "NYC Electrical Code." Note first item and click on it.


Question #12: I am getting so many conflicting answers to the question,"is it legal to use romex wiring in Queens? I've heard "definitely no!" I've also heard "yes, but it must be inspected before the walls are put up", which is time consuming,... but when I called the DOB they said that it does not have to be inspected till everything is inspected. Please, does anyone know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? -Lyana Click here to post your answer to this question

ANSWER: I am not sure of such details. However, I think you may be looking at the wrong end of this question. Installation of electrical cables MUST be done by a licensed electrician. If you go around this, and there is a fire, your insurance company will not pay off. There is a frequent compromise, where a licensed electrician will agree to inspect the work of a non-licensed installer (that's where the open walls idea you mentioned came from) for a fee, because the licensed guy is responsible. Idea: ask you insurance company. They know the rules upwards and downwards.
Dick Koral


Question #9: How can I get a book, booklet or anything to learn about the H.P.D. Housing Maintenance Code? Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: HPD is located at 100 Gold St., NYC, 10038. I don't think they give it out easily, but it's worth a try. If you take either the Advanced Building Systems or Advanced Management classes (free)the book is (abbreviated version) one of the many they give you. If you're interested in the classes (or others) call 212-863-8830. Good luck, Jason

Answer: Call city books (ask information for number), they have many books on codes such as Multiple dwelling law, Housing Maintenance code and fire codes etc.


Question #6: I need to run wiring for an intercom before the walls go up. I'm pretty sure I need bell wire, but want to be sure. Click here to post your answer to this question

Answer: You make me nervous. Please consult the NYC Electrical Code before running any wire through your building. It is not only a matter of the type of wire but how to run it and make sure that a short does not set the building on fire.
Dick Koral