Home Buying in New York>Question Details

Julie Masson, Home Buyer in 10022

build wall in a condo

Asked by Julie Masson, 10022 Sun Jan 27, 2013

I was wondering if there could be any limitation on building a wall in a condo apartment? That would be to create a bedroom in a studio alcove. Thanks!

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Ross Ellis’ answer
Dear Julie,

Assuming you haven't bought the condo yet. You can ask your broker to check wit the condo's property manager. If you have purchased check your bylaws.

Most condos will likely ask you to file an architect's plan for any alterations.

If there is an issue, here in Manhattan there are several reputable companies who sell portable walls which doesn't hurt the structure of your apartment or other units and gives you the wall you're looking to create as a bedroom without the muss and fuss. But you would still have to check with the condo property manager on that as well.

Good luck,

Ross Ellis
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Member of Real Estate Board of New York
212.317.7828 direct
770 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10065
rellis@halstead.com .
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
The city has gotten stricter with the building of permanent (as opposed to pressurized) walls. This is because of safety issues with regard to fire and egress. These days a permit from the city is usually required. There would also be procedure for getting your plans approved through the managing agent (management company). You would need to show them the plans and your contractor would have to meet their requirements. Also work is generally allowed only during certain days/hours.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Check with managemet first, also check with the building department for any necessary permits...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
All alterations in a condo building would require prior review and approval by the management company/board. Every condo building has its standard alteration agreement that sets up all necessary steps, fees and timing for renovations. The management company for that particular building should be able to tell you, whether they allow this type of changes.
Building a wall may also require a permit from the department of buildings,although just a pressurized wall may not require it . Separating an alcove (with a window) into a small bedroom seems pretty standard.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
In addition to reason your by-laws as suggested below, contact your local building department. It is probable
you will need a building permit. Some concerns raised will relate to safe egress in the event of a fire and making sure you do not impact electrical service or adjacent supporting walls.

Sometimes people by pass the building department because they don't want to follow the local ordinances or run the risk of higher taxes. But when you go to sell the unit, you will be required to show whatever municipal approvals that may be required.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
I know a couple of buildings that allow walls ..some great deals downtown too. call me. Talia 201 232 3632..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Yes. Make sure you ask management, HOA, or Co-op board whether you can erect a wall before you purchase, or sign a lease, to avoid disappointment. Your building may even specify which temporary wall company you can use. Coordination between the temporary wall company and building management is important in order to avoid problems. Walls that have been put up over the years without approval from the Department of Buildings must come down. New tenants are often told that if they wish to divide a space, they will need to rely on bookshelves or partial walls that don’t reach the ceiling. If permitted, temporary walls must not block exit routes or interfere with the ventilation and sprinkler systems. And there are minimum requirements for room size. In order for a room to be classified as a bedroom it must be at least 80 square feet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Most HOA's allow owners to make upgrades within their unit but most also require some sort of approval process. Additionally, these initiatives are subject to following the local codes and regulations for these types of homes and may require a permit process.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
normally no but always check with your building management or board..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi, Your best bet is to check the condo by-laws and the city, without seeing them nobody will be able to answer the question accurately.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
You need to check the condo docs, rules and bylaws regarding this. Many allow you to make alterations to the inside that do not affect the exterior or other units. Your bylaws should guide you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
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