Today it s relatively easy and routine to add an additional bedroom to apartments that contain “L” shaped living rooms which are commonly know as “convertible or Jr” one or two bedroom apartments.
Historically this type of alteration was difficult for two basic reasons.
One, the NYC Zoning Resolution had a term called “zoning rooms” which was used to limit the number of rooms allowable on a property. This requirement generally proved to be the most limiting condition of bulk and thus the number of zoning rooms was limited. This condition led to the the creation of “L” shaped living rooms which allowed the floor area to be used while not increasing the zoning room count.
The second difficult was created by the Building Code requirement to amend the Certificate of Occupancy if the number of “habitable rooms” increased. Enclosing the open portion of the dining room to create a new room increased the “habitable rooms”.
Within the last ten to fifteen years, the Zoning Resolution was amended to remove the term “zoning room”. Bulk is now governed by “Dwelling Units” with no regard to the number of rooms.
With the passage of the 2008 NYC Building Code, the requirement to amend a Certificate of Occupancy was no longer required when the number of rooms was increased.
Eliminating these two limitations allows an “L” shaped living room to be divided into a living room and an additional room which may be used a s a bedroom. This is done by filing a Type 2 application for the new partitions.
The new room must be several basic Building Code and Multiple Dwelling Law requirements as follows:
The room must be at least 80 sq ft with a minimum dimension of eight (8) feet in most cases.
The room must have a window with an area equal to 10% of the area of the room and the window must be 50% operable.
The room must have heat.
The room must have handicap accessibility, in most cases this means a door with a minimum width 2’10”.
One note of caution. If you are closing up a door to kitchenette, make sure the kitchenette has mechanical or natural ventilation.
An architectural or Professional Engineer Licensed in the State of New York is required to prepare plans and submit them the the New York City Building Department. A permit is required, and the application must be inspected and signed off after completion