The de Blasio administration wants to make it easier for homeowners to legally add apartments in basements, atop garages — and even in backyard tiny houses — to boost affordable housing.
The plans, shared Wednesday with THE CITY, entail easing parking requirements as well as supplying low-interest loans to finance construction that would bring the new digs up to code.
“The key to unlocking more housing for New Yorkers is just below our feet,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Legalizing basement apartments will give homeowners a new way to make ends meet and give thousands of New Yorkers an affordable place to live.”
He’s expected to formally announce the effort Thursday during his State of the City address at the American Museum of Natural History.
The city plans to set aside $150 million in capital funds for the loans. Zoning changes woud address rules that currently require additional parking spaces for new apartments in many residential areas — action that could take at least two years, the mayor’s office indicated.
De Blasio administration officials expect at least 10,000 safe and affordable units could be added to the housing-starved city within the next decade under the proposed changes, which require City Council approval.
The new dwellings could even include “tiny homes in a backyard,” City Hall officials said, though they didn’t offer details.
The Pratt Center for Community Development estimates that New York City already has as many as 114,000 occupied basement apartments.
Will Spisak of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, a housing advocacy group, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the new de Blasio plan.“if this really does allow for easier basement conversion experiences, and allowed folks to create accessory dwelling units on their property, this could be really transformative for a lot of homeowners,” said Spisak, the organization’s director of housing justice.