New York City and State Housing Standards
The Multiple Dwelling Law, the Multiple Residence Law, and the New York City Housing Maintenance Code delineate minimum standards for light and air, fire protection and safety, and sanitation and health in various classes of dwellings, including Class "A" and Class "B" multiple dwellings:
- A "Class 'A'" multiple dwelling is a multiple dwelling which is generally occupied for permanent residence purposes. Class "A" multiple dwellings include apartments buildings and "apartment hotels," and most other types of apartments. Multiple Dwelling Law § 4 (8) (a).
- A "Class 'B'" multiple dwelling is a multiple dwelling which is generally occupied transiently, as the temporary abode of individuals or families who are lodged with or without meals. Class "B" multiple dwellings include hotels, rooming houses, club houses, college and school dormitories, and dwellings designed as private dwellings but occupied by one or two families with five or more transient boarders, roomers, or lodgers in one household. Multiple Dwelling Law § 4 (9).
In addition to setting the minimum standards for Class "A" and Class "B" dwellings, the Multiple Dwelling Law, the Multiple Residence Law, and the Housing Maintenance Code set forth the owner's and the tenant's responsibilities concerning compliance, registration requirements for owners, and enforcement mechanisms that range from the imposition of civil penalties for the failure to correct violations to the destruction of buildings constituting nuisances. See the charts below.
In addition, they set forth tenant remedies for owners' violations. The New York City Housing Maintenance Code classifies violations of the code into "nonhazardous," or "A," violations, "hazardous," or "B," violations, and "immediately hazardous," or "C," violations. New York City Administrative Code § 27-2115 (d). The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has promulgated a list of violations classified as "rent impairing" violations under Multiple Dwelling Law § 302-a. See 28 RCNY § 25-191.
Practice Tip: Because of the complexity of the laws governing housing standards, and their variability according to building type, it is essential to refer to the actual laws, local and state housing codes, and such other codes as building and sanitary codes in order to ascertain which standards apply to a given building. In addition, relevant information can be found in state and local regulations.
CITY AND STATE HOUSING STANDARDS
APPLICABLE IN NEW YORK CITY
|Condition||Housing Maintenance Code (Administrative Code of the City of New York) §||Multiple Dwelling Law §|
|Artificial lighting||27-2037 to 27-2040||64 (1)|
|Boiler room||27-2033 (access)||65|
|Building entrance doors and intercom||N/A||50-a|
|Entrance halls (bells)||N/A||57|
|Fire protection, fire escapes and smoke detecting devices||27-2044 to 27-2046||53, 68, 232|
|Heat||27-2028,||79; Energy Law § 17-103|
|Hot water, water supply||27-2024, 27-2025, 27-2031, 27-2032||75|
|Lead paint||27-2056.1 et seq. (Local Law 1 of 2004)||N/A|
|Lighting and ventilation||27-2057 to 27-2062||30, 217|
|Lobby attendant services||N/A||50-c|
|Locks to apartment doors; landlord's right to key||27-2043||51-c|
|Painting||27-2013 to 27-2016||29, 80|
|Repairs, vermin, waste collection, janitorial services||27-2005, 27-2011, 27-2018, 27-2019, 27-2021, 27-2023, 27-2052 to 27-2056||78, 80, 81, 83|
|Room size minimums and occupancy regulations||27-2074 to 27-2080; 27-2082 to 27-2088||31, 34|
|Sewers and drainage||27-2026, 27-2027||77|
|Tenant's responsibilities||27-2009, 27-2012||78, 80|
|Water closets and bathrooms||27-2063 to 27-2069||76|
Comparison of Multiple Dwelling Law and Multiple Residence Law Provisions
The Multiple Dwelling Law applies to cities with a population of 325,000 or more (i.e., New York City), while the Multiple Residence Law applies to cities with less than 325,000 and to all towns and villages. Note that municipalities may by local law adopt housing standards that are as strict as the Multiple Dwelling Law or stricter.
Condition MDL § MRL § Artificial lighting 64(1) 32, 109 Boiler room 65 139 Building entrance doors and intercom 50-a 28 Cellar ceilings -- 30 Cellar entrance 54 -- Cellar stairs -- 31 Elevator mirrors 51-b -- Entrance halls (bells) 57 -- Fire protection, fire escapes, smoke detectors 53, 68, 232 133 Heat 79 173 Hot water and water supply 75 41, 170 Lighting and ventilation 30, 217 103 Lobby attendant services 50-c -- Locks to apartment doors, LL's right to key 51-c -- Mail service 57 -- Motor vehicle storage 60 136 Painting 29, 80 -- Peepholes 51-a -- Privacy 82 -- Repair, vermin, waste collection, janitor 78, 80, 81, 83 40, 174 Room size minimums and occupancy regulations 31, 34 104, 106 Sewers and drainage 77 43, 172 Stairs 52 28, 132 Tenant's responsibilities 78, 80 40, 174 Water closets and bathrooms 76 42, 171
Reference: Adapted from Scherer, ed., Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in New York (2006).
Repairs & Maintenance FAQ from the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
Tenant's Rights Guide from the NYS Attorney General.
HPD Complaint Hotline information
A Tenant's Right to Repairs by South Brooklyn Legal Services
How Can I Get Repairs from My Landlord? by MFY Legal Services
How Can I Get Repairs If I Live in a NYCHA Apartment? by MFY Legal Services
HP Actions for Repairs and Services by Housing Court Answers (also available in Spanish, French, Hindi, and Russian)
HPDOnline New York City's housing code violation and Multiple Dwelling Registration database.
Last updated: June 28, 2013