Monday, August 13, 2012
Watch your walls
Those who think it's easy and legal to put up a wall in an apartment to create another room are urged by the city building commissioner to think again. NY1's Real Estate reporter Jill Urban filed the following report.
All the time, listings describe a unit as a “convertible” three-bedroom or a “Junior 4.” These terms imply that one can add a bedroom by simply putting up a wall. But most people do not know there is nothing simple about it.
"When the broker says, 'No big deal, just put up a wall and you’ll have a three-bedroom,' it sounds really great. But when you get into that position sometimes, it's not all what it’s cracked up to be," says Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri.
What the broker may not be sharing is that those temporary pressurized walls are illegal. Putting up a permanent wall requires a permit.
"What you want to make sure is that it is built according to codes. Codes are there to protect you, the people around you and the first responders. And when people don’t do the right thing, innocent people can get hurt," says LiMandri.
Getting a permit is a multi-step process. LiMandri says first a licensed architect or engineer needs to be hired to draw up the plans and file them with the city to get the permit. That can be time-consuming and pricey.