Understanding Illegal Bathroom Fixtures Violations

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Do you have an illegal basement in NYC? For renters, illegal basement apartments can be a welcome relief to the high prices of apartments and rental homes, but they are often unsafe. If the Department of Buildings learns of an illegal basement conversion, they will place a notice on the door and inspect the property. As a landlord, this can mean getting heavily fined and being forced to perform additional renovations.

Understanding What Makes a Basement Apartment Illegal or Legal

According to the NY Daily News, more than 100,000 individuals in NYC occupy and illegal basement conversion, but just because people are living in them doesn’t mean they are safe for habitation. The NYC Department of Buildings considers apartment conversions illegal under the following circumstances.

  • NYC does not allow the conversion of cellars, which are underground spaces with more than 50 percent of their walls underground.
  • Cellar conversions cannot be lived in, and they cannot contain a shower or a bathtub. Cellars can contain a toilet and a sink.
  • Cellars can contain a toilet and a sink, called a half bathroom.
  • Basements, which are below ground spaces with more than 50 percent of their walls above ground can be converted into apartments under certain circumstances.

If a basement space is converted into an apartment, they must meet all of New York City’s building codes for below-ground living spaces, and this includes having a certain number of windows and exits. The ceilings must also be a certain height, and the space must contain adequate ventilation.

Plumbing Violations Often Found in Illegal Apartment Conversions

  • A full bathroom located in a cellar
  • A bathroom fixture located in an odd area, like a shower in a kitchen or a toilet next to a washing machine
  • Oddly laid out plumbing pipes and visible plumbing pipes

How Building Owners receive Illegal Bathroom Fixture Violations

It’s important to understand that the NYC Department of Buildings doesn’t walk around randomly inspecting houses and apartment complexes for illegal bathroom fixtures. Instead, someone in the building or the neighborhood noticed individuals entering and exiting the possibly illegal basement conversion and reported it to the Department of Buildings. At that point, an inspector is sent to inspect the property. If it does not meet current building codes, violations are issued and the landlord has a certain amount of time to correct those violations.

Correcting Illegal Bathroom Fixture Violations with John Farr

If you do get a violation from the NYC Department of Buildings regarding your basement conversion and illegal bathroom fixtures, licensed master plumber, John Farr, can help you correct your violations and restore your building’s legal status and certificate of occupancy. He can review your violation, look at the plumbing fixtures and the space and recommend the correct changes to make in order to remedy the conditions that caused your illegal bathroom fixture violation.

The good news is that if you get a plumbing violation for your basement remodel, John Farr can help you correct it. He is familiar with all the current building codes and how to get permits for building code violations so that they can be repaired quickly.


To get your HPD, ECB/OATH violations corrected, illegal basement violation, gas company violation, gas boiler violation or any Plumbing building violations in NYC removed, call John Farr at 917-324-2535.

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