Basement Conversions: What permits do I need?

Basement Conversions in NYC

Converting your basement in New York takes a bit of planning. You cannot simply start renting out your space without making the legal changes required for all basement rental units.

First off, all livable basement spaces need proper emergency escape and rescue openings known as egress requirements. In New York, any habitable space and all sleeping rooms in basements must have a second means of egress with a minimum open area of 5.7 square feet and a minimum height of 24 inches and width of 20 inches. Second egress cannot be more than 44 inches from the floor. This means all windows will be big enough and easily accessible for someone to crawl out of.

If second egress does not exist in the basement you are trying to convert, you are looking at a construction job that will require planning and multiple permits. Other New York City requirements for basement rental spaces include having a toilet, tub and sink as well as it’s own entry and exit.

Your first step in converting your basement to a rental unit, or just to a usable space, is to draw up a plan with an architect and engineer. At S & M we help people with all aspects of drafting, planning and plan approval through the DOB. We can even recommend the right architect for the job.

Once your plan receives approval, your permit expediter can get started on obtaining the right permits for your basement construction project. Plumbing permits, egress permits, and general construction permits are all documents you will need for a basement conversion.

If you happen to own a basement with a rental unit already and you discover it is an illegal basement conversion and the DOB is charging you with a violation, S & M Expediting can also help you with violation removal and reduce your penalty with the DOB.