Q: I received a Buildings Department complaint about an illegal basement apartment being rented.
First I have no tennant's. Secondly I the owner occupy the apartment and have been for almost 30 years with no complaints. When my parents and aunt & uncle purchased the house the apartment was already there from the previous owner. When the previous owners purchased the house from the original owner the apartment was already there which would be well over 50 years with no complaints. I researched DOB website and I see every house on the block has the same complaint on the same day. It looks like the surrounding blocks as well. They want me to setup an appointment for inspection which I haven't done as yet. This seems like a money grab by the city. The original C O from 1963 states 2 family then cellar/storage. The Dept. Of Finance has the house C O 3 Family. Not sure as what to do or what my rights are if any?
A: Any building in NYC that is used or designed to be occupied as three separate living units is considered a multiple dwelling and must maintain a multiple dwelling registration. However, if the property is a legal two-family it is not eligible to file a multiple dwelling registration and the use of the third unit would be considered a violation. It does not matter whether the third unit is occupied by an owner or tenant but simply that it is being used or is intended to be used as a third living unit. Depending upon the history and structure of your building, you may be able to change the Certificate of Occupancy to conform your use of the property but will likely need the assistance of professionals to do so.
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