The City of New York

About the NYC Housing Maintenance Code

The New York City Housing Maintenance Code (HMC) establishes the minimum standards for health and safety, fire protection, light and ventilation cleanliness, repair and maintenance and occupancy in residential dwellings in New York City. The reader is advised these are MINIMUM standards and have little correlation to what most people would consider acceptable standards.




Sec. [D26-10.01] 27-2005 Duties of owner


a. The owner of a multiple dwelling shall keep the premises in good repair.


b. The owner of a multiple dwelling, in addition to the duty imposed upon such owner by subdivision (a) of this section, shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this code, except insofar as responsibility for compliance is imposed upon the tenant.


c. The owner of a one- or two-family dwelling shall keep the premises in good repair, and shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this code, except to the extent otherwise agreed between such owner and any tenant of such dwelling by lease or other contract in writing, or except insofar as responsibility for compliance with this code is imposed upon the tenant alone.




Sec. [D26-10.03] 27-2006 Duties of tenant


a. A tenant shall, in addition to complying with all provisions of this code and the multiple dwelling law applicable to him or her, be responsible for violations of this code to the extent that he or she has the power to prevent the occurrence of a violation. A tenant has the power to prevent the occurrence of a violation if:


(1) It is caused by his or her own willful act or that of a member of his or her family or household, or a guest; or (2) It is the result of such tenant's gross negligence, neglect or abuse, or the gross negligence, neglect or abuse of a member of his or her family, or household or her guest.


b. The tenant, any member of his or her family, or household, or his or her guest shall, with respect to the public parts of the premises, be liable if a violation is caused by such tenant's own willful act, gross negligence, neglect or abuse. c. The fact that a tenant is or may be liable for a violation of this code or any other law or is found liable for civil or criminal penalties does not relieve the owner of his or her obligation to keep the premises, and every part thereof, in good repair.




Sec. [D26-10.05] 27-2007 Certain specific duties of tenants and others


In addition to other duties imposed upon him by this code, no tenant, or any other person, shall: a. remove or render inoperative any self-closing device on any door which is required by any provision of law to be self-closing, or cause or permit such door to be held open by any device; b. Use, or cause or permit to be installed, a lowered door or screen door in addition to or in place of any required self-closing door to a public hall; c. Place any encumbrance before or upon, or cause access to be obstructed to any fire escape, or obstruct by a baby carriage or any encumbrance the public halls or any required means of egress; d. take down, alter, destroy, or in any way deface any sign required by this code to be displayed.




Sec. [D26-10.07] 27-2008 Owner's right of access


No tenant shall refuse to permit the owner, or his or her agent or employee, to enter such tenant's dwelling unit or other space under his or her control to make repairs or improvements required by this code or other law or to inspect such apartment or other space to determine compliance with this code or any other provision of law, if the right of entry is exercised at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner. The department may by regulation restrict the time and manner of such inspections.




Sec. [D26-10.09] 27-2009 Tenant violations as grounds for eviction


Any conviction of a tenant for violation of this code which:
(1) Results from willful or grossly negligent conduct and causes substantial
damage to the dwelling units; or
(2) Results from repeated or continued conduct which causes damage to the dwelling unit or substantially interferes with the comfort or safety of another person; or
(3) Consists of an unreasonable refusal to afford access to the dwelling unit to the owner or his or her agent or employee for the purpose of making repairs or improvements required by this code, shall constitute grounds for summary proceedings by the owner to recover possession of such dwelling unit from the tenant.




Sec. [D26-10.10] 27-2009.1 Rights and Responsibilities of Owners and Tenants in Relation to Pets


a. Legislative declaration. The council hereby finds that the enforcement of covenants contained in multiple dwelling leases which prohibit the harboring of household pets has led to widespread abuses by building owners or their agents, who knowing that a tenant has a pet for an extended period of time, seek to evict the tenant and/or his or her pet often for reasons unrelated to the creation of a nuisance. Because household pets are kept for reasons of safety and companionship and under the existence of a continuing housing emergency it is necessary to protect pet owners from retaliatory eviction and to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of tenants who harbor pets under the circumstances provided herein, it is hereby found that the enactment of the provisions if this section is necessary to prevent potential hardship and dislocation of tenants within this city.


b. Where a tenant in a multiple dwelling openly and notoriously for a period of three months or more following taking possession of a unit, harbors or has harbored a household pet or pets, the harboring of which is not prohibited by the multiple dwelling law, the housing maintenance or the health codes of the city of New York or any other applicable law, and the owner or his or her agent has knowledge of this fact, and such owner fails within this three months period to commence a summary proceeding or action to enforce a lease provision prohibiting the keeping of such household pets, such lease provision shall be deemed waived.


c. It shall be unlawful for an owner or his or her agent, by express terms or otherwise, to restrict a tenant's rights as provided in this section. Any such restriction shall be unenforceable and deemed void as against public policy.


d. The waiver provision of this section shall not apply where the harboring of a household pet causes damage to the subject premise, creates a nuisance or interferes substantially with the health, safety or welfare of other tenants or occupants of the same or adjacent building or structure.


e. The New York City housing authority shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.



HMC Tips and Notes


The HMC is administered by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), however HPD's force of inspectors has been gutted over the years where it is largely ineffective. During Heating Season (Oct. to May), when the emphasis is on heat and hot water, without a court-ordered inspection, it may be difficult to get an inspection in any reasonable time.


The HMC does not replace or substitute for other codes relating to buildings in general (Building Code, Fire Code, Health Code, or the various rent laws). There is also overlap of the HMC with the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law.


If tenants can obtain an inspection, it is always advisable to cooperate fully with the inspector(s), however the tenant should be cognizant that over the years inspectors (and not just from HPD) have fallen prey to bribes from landlords and superintendents. The tenant should always keep an eye on the inspectors and never let them alone with the owner or super.


If possible, when the inspector arrives, have at least two tenants present, a camera to take photos of the problem(s) and (politely) inform the inspector that you will follow up shortly with their supervisor to obtain a copy of the inspection report (and make sure you do so). Make sure you get the inspector's name and badge number.


It may take a week or two for the violation to appear on the HPD computer, so don't try to get it the next day. Also be aware that some conditions may indeed not rise to the level of violation. Inspectors generally do not care about the drinking habits or harassment by the super; they are concerned about the facts -- the conditions for which they may issue violations.


You may obtain certified copies of inspection reports from HPD. It used to be that the cost was $5.00 per page. We had heard that someone took HPD to court on that and won -- which should result in a fee closer to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) standard of $0.25 per page, but we've also heard that Mayor Guiliani ordered a fee of $30 to get copies of violations and inspection reports. You should be able to obtain a free copies from your local City Councilperson, State Senator or State Assemblyperson (it may take longer though).


In addition to the problems about which you've complained, inspectors are supposed to check for: smoke detectors, double cylinder locks (where a key is needed to operate the lock from both sides of the door), and illegal fire gates (the type on which a lock may be placed).


We recognize that some tenants prefer double cylinder locks and fire gates which may be secured by a lock, but these are illegal and inspectors will issue a violation if present This will give a landlord -- who otherwise may not provide heat or hot water -- an excuse to take you to court for a so-called tenant-caused violation. It may be better to remove these devices prior to a visit from the inspector.


Every attempt has been made to conform to the original document; TenantNet makes no representation the enclosed material is current or will be applied as written. The reader is advised that government agencies often fails to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws. Since housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or community group.


NOTE:This edition of the Housing Maintenance Code also includes amendments to the code made by Local Law 44 of 1988, which was enacted July 11, 1988. The State Legislature, pursuant to Chapter 907 of the Laws of 1985, repealed, reenacted and renumbered the Administrative Code of the City of New York, and pursuant to Chapter 839 of Laws of 1986, made certain technical corrections and changes to the recodified code, of which the Housing Maintenance Code is a part. For your convenience, this edition contains the old section numbers of the Housing Maintenance Code shown in brackets, followed by the new section numbers. In addition, we have also included in this volume a two-part conversion table beginning on page 101 which lists former to current and then current to former section numbers for this code. The Table of Contents lists old and new major headings. Editorial notes pointing out discrepancies between the former code and the recodified version not specifically indicated as changes, or references to Local laws that have amended the code since recodification, are indicated with asterisks and corresponding footnotes at the bottom of the page. Obvious errors (such as misspellings) are noted within the text with a [sic] following the particular word.







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For more information about what is required, see the laws that are referenced and the rules applicable to your city and state. This page is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice, professional advice or a statement of law. You may wish to consult with an attorney.