Avoiding Fines by Remedying Illegal Basements in NY

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Do you have an illegal basement apartment in NYC? If you do, you are not alone. The practice is fairly common, but that does not make it acceptable with the Department of Buildings. In fact, it only takes one phone call from an anonymous concerned neighbor, and you could receive a notice on your door that states the DOB is aware of your illegal basement and needs to inspect your property. Needless to say, if you do have an illegal basement, you could receive a violation notice and be subject to costly fines. 

Fines for Illegal Basement Apartments 

It’s important to understand that cellars and basements can only be lawfully occupied after it has been proven they meet the required building codes, and that could mean making hefty renovations to the space, especially for cellars, which typically have more than 50 percent of their exterior walls below grade. 

  • Civil Penalties – Can apply.
  • Additional Fine Amounts – Up to $1,000 per day for serious violations. 

Why Conversions Are Illegal 

It is often found that basements and cellars that have been converted into apartments contain hazards and safety risks. A few of these risks can include improper plumbing that leads to leaks, stagnant water and mold, improperly installed gas lines and fire hazards. There may also be unsafe wiring, trips and fall hazards and problems exiting the dwelling if there is a fire or another emergency that requires immediate egress. 

Fast Questions to Ask About Your Apartment Conversion 

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your apartment conversion could be illegal. 

  • Are the ceilings below nine feet? 
  • Does the unit get its electricity from one or more extension cords? 
  • Are there zero direct exits to the outdoors from the space? 
  • Are the exterior walls 50 percent below grade? 
  • Is there a shower in the space? 
  • Did you fail to get permits for the conversion work? 

Remedying Illegal Apartments with John Farr 

You don’t have to continue to stress about your basement apartment conversion and any notices or violations you’ve received from the DOB. Most illegal basement violations stem from improper gas and water plumbing and fixtures. John Farr can look at your notice or violation and the area that caused the violation in order to determine the appropriate repair that can restore your building’s occupancy status. He also has the knowledge and experience needed to work with other professionals, like engineers and architects. 
To get your illegal basement violation corrected, give John Farr a call today at 917-324-2535. 

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