What Constitutes a “Habitable Space”?

In order for a space in an apartment to be classified as a habitable space, it must meet some basic criteria set by the New York City Building Code.

Size requirements: In general, rooms must have minimum dimensions of 8x8x8 feet and at least 80 square feet of floor area.  However, exceptions exist for bedrooms and dining rooms under certain circumstances.

Lighting Requirements: Rooms must have at least one window that opens out into the street, yard, or court on the same lot.  These windows should have a total area of at least one-tenth of the room’s floor area.  Lotline windows, it should be noted, don’t count towards the window requirement.

Fireproofing: If your building is not fireproofed, then each room can be no further than 30 feet away from a court or window opening to a street or yard.

On top of these minimum size and lighting requirements, the way the space will be used also affects its classification.  Bedrooms, living rooms, studies, recreation rooms, and kitchens are all considered habitable rooms, but closets, halls, stairs, laundry rooms, bathrooms, foyers, and dining spaces are not.