Unregulated basement apartments are a pressing health and safety concern, and a predictable result of the current housing shortage. These crises disproportionately impact low-income homeowners and tenants. It’s time for State legislation that empowers NYC to address the issue.

As part of the New York City BASE Campaign, CHPC submitted testimony to the NYC Council highlighting the urgency of State legislative action to enable basement apartments to be legalized and made safe.

Katherine Leitch, Senior Policy Analyst at CHPC: “The City has undertaken significant efforts, including the East New York pilot, to identify and remedy the challenges of basement conversion. The expertise on these issues resides locally within the City agencies that administer the regulations, including those of the MDL, and with nonprofits and community groups that have spent years navigating the complexities of legalization. By giving the City authority to provide relief from the MDL, the State would enable the City to assert its own rigorous building and occupancy standards in circumstances that are endemic to the City. This would profoundly improve a basement legalization effort and allow the city to refine and adapt a program as implementation challenges arise or as the city’s needs evolve…”

Full testimony below.

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CHPC's testimony, Kate Leitch, January 24, 2023