DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES PILOT BASEMENT CONVERSION PROGRAM IN EAST NEW YORK;

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DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES PILOT BASEMENT CONVERSION PROGRAM IN EAST NEW YORK; LEGISLATION PROPOSED TO MODIFY BUILDING CODE STANDARDS FOR AREA

City seeks Community Based Organization to administer new loan program to finance homeowner creation of safe, quality basement apartments

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Members Brad Lander, Rafael Espinal and Inez Barron proposed legislation to establish a three-year demonstration program to facilitate the creation and renovation of apartments in the basements and cellars of certain one- and two-family homes in Brooklyn Community District 5.

The City will allow for the creation of new apartments in this area through the modification of existing Housing Maintenance Code, Fire Code and Construction Code standards, coupled with existing allowances for home conversions and the allocation of funds to assist with these renovations. This innovative pilot program will provide safe and legal housing options to more New Yorkers.

“The City is using innovative strategies to unlock more affordable housing at every level – including the basement,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This program will increase the stock of affordable housing in East New York, provide additional income to homeowners, and ensure tenant safety. This administration will continue to utilize every tool we have to tackle affordability head on.”

Tenants in illegal basement and cellar apartments typically have no lease, limited rights, and live in substandard conditions. This bill would add to New York City’s existing housing stock by allowing property owners to create safe and legal apartments in their buildings. The City will also use the pilot to identify and learn about how to overcome barriers that owners face when seeking to convert basement units.

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