Temporary Walls

August 9, 2017 | By Charles Botensten

Q. Can my renter install a temporary wall in her New York City apartment?

A. In order to install a temporary wall in an apartment, a renter must comply with applicable New York City laws and regulations.  For example, it is illegal to install a floor-to-ceiling wall in an apartment (even if the wall is intended as a temporary installation) without first obtaining a permit from the New York City Department of Buildings.  Furthermore, if the renter installs a wall, then the renter must ensure that (i) all rooms in the apartment meet minimum square foot requirements; (ii) egress routes are not impeded; and (iii) sprinkler coverage areas are not unobstructed.   Even where the wall is not a floor-to-ceiling wall, if the installation of the wall results in a change to the layout of the apartment, then the installation of the wall could be problematic. Finally, the particular building may have rules pertaining to the installation of a wall, including a requirement that the renter obtain the prior written consent of the landlord prior to installing a wall.  Additionally, a building may prohibit the installation of any temporary wall.  If the renter is not sure if the wall meets applicable requirements, then the renter should seek the advice of a professional, such as an architect, contractor or an attorney.

The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel

Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP