Illegal Home Use

Illegal Home Use refers to any altered buildings or apartments that violate New York City’s construction codes and can create hazards to tenants, neighbors or emergency responders. It also pertains to any business or work done from home that does not meet certain legal requirements.

Certain types of alterations and conversions are considered to fall under illegal home use: cellar bedrooms and Single Room Occupancies (SROs), a form of housing aimed at low-to-no income residents usually consisting of simply a bed, chair and desk, and which are illegal under NYC’s zoning regulations. (, 2021)

In addition, it is illegal to construct any walls or other barriers without first receiving the go-ahead from the Department of Buildings.

Other violations may be controlled by the Environmental Control Board (ECB), a division of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). Common violations include failure to address pests or mold in a building, improperly installed or an inadequate number of fire alarms, and lack of emergency exits. (, 2019)

For those operating a business from home, they may only do so legally if their business takes up no more than 25% of their residence. No employees are allowed to work on site as well. And finally, any home business that involves food will be illegal if the food needs to be refrigerated before sale. In any other case, a Home Processor license will have to be applied for. (, 2018)

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