It is quite common for people to combine two apartments that are next to each other. Here are some of the protocols for joining apartments in Co-Ops and Condos (in New York City). Before you purchase two adjacent apartments you should always check with the building management company to see if they allow the joining of apartments. You will definitely need to hire an architect and file this work with the NYC Department of Buildings.
Before doing any work in a your apartment you will need to review your building’s alteration agreement. To learn more check out an article we wrote on Alteration Agreements
The first step is to contact your board or building management company. You will need to find out if they allow this practice. Although most buildings will not object there will be some that do. You will need to hire an architect and the job will need to be filed with the department of buildings. The biggest point of confusion on these types of projects is the protocol. When do you need to update your certificate of occupancy. Do you file an Alt 1 or an Alt 2? Here is some quick background information before we dive in. A certificate of occupancy.
- A Certificate of Occupancy (“C of O” or “C.O.”) is a document issued by the Department Of Buildings (DOB) that lists the approved occupancy of a building including the number of floors, the uses per floor, and when relevant the allowable number of occupants. A certificate of occupancy in a residential building for example would list how many apartments there are per floor.
- An Alteration Type 1 (Alt 1) is an application to the Department Of Buildings (DOB) in which the work to be performed in the alteration would require a new updated Certificate Of Occupancy.
- An Alteration Type 2 (Alt 2) is an application to the Department Of Buildings (DOB) in which the work to be performed in the alteration would not require a new updated Certificate Of Occupancy.
Protocol For Combining Apartments in NYC
Since the Certificate of Occupancy of a building lists the number of apartments in the building one would assume that combining apartments requires a new Certificate of Occupancy and an Alt 1 filling, but this is not always the case. The following are the requirements and regulations for combining apartments without changing the Certificate of Occupancy and filling only as an Alt 2.
This article is based on information in the NYC DOB Technical Policy and Procedure Notice #3/97, TPPN#3/97
Criteria for Combining Apartments without a change to the Certificate Of Occupancy and Filing an Alt 2 with DOB.
This first Item is for Condo’s ONLY
If the work to be performed is in a condominium building you must obtain a new Tentative Tax Lot number from The Department Of Finance (DOF) before filing the Alt 2 with DOB. To file with the Department of Finance for this type of work you will need architectural plans and to submit an RP-602CA Form Application For Amending Condominium Apportionment.
The following items are for Co-Ops and Condominiums
Type of Apartment Combinations Allowed as Alt 2:
Combined apartments are on the same floor.
If the apartments are on adjacent floors and you are doing a vertical combination with an interior stair in the apartments you can only combine apartments on two floors maximum in this application type.
Light And Air:
- All new rooms created must comply with the building code requirements for windows to achieve natural light and air.
- Any existing rooms that have windows but do not have sufficient light and air requirements are “grandfathered.” They must not have the current amount of windows reduced.
- You cannot change any of the means of egress including:
- fire escapes
- building stairs
- building corridors, etc…
- You can only have one kitchen.
- If the kitchens are next to each other and combined any removed plumbing and gas fixtures must be capped.
- If the kitchens are separate one of them must be completely removed and all plumbing and gas must be capped unless you are replacing with another use such as a new bathroom for example.
- As per Department Of Buildings Regulations, the job will be filed with DOB by a licensed Architect or Engineer. The department of buildings plan examiner must review and approve the plans and documentation.
- For Sign off of the work you will request a letter of completion from the Department Of Buildings.
Good Luck with you apartment combination.