Relax, you can still hang out on your building’s rooftop, city says

DOB reverses a recent crackdown on the use of rooftop space

<em>Credit: Hu Totya</em>
Credit: Hu Totya

City officials sent a bulletin to building owners on Friday saying they will chill out on a recent crackdown over the use of rooftop space.

The Department of Buildings had started scrutinizing these spaces over the past few weeks, telling building owners and developers that any floor space used by tenants had to be enclosed, according to Crain’s. This appeared to prohibit landlords and developers from using and creating amenities like roof decks that have become a huge draw for tenants — and a reason to raise rents.

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However, city officials will now interpret the building code to mean that outdoor space with the capacity to hold 74 or more people is fine, provided the certificate of occupancy for the building is amended and people can safely exit the space. Paperwork is unnecessary if the rooftop spaces are smaller.

Real Estate Board of New York president John Banks had a muted reaction to the decision, saying in a statement to Crain’s that the industry is “reviewing the guidelines, and we may have comments or improvements to share moving forward.” [Crain’s] – Eddie Small