This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
No room in the basement or cellar of a tenement house may be occupied for living purposes without a written permit from the Tenement House Department; nor shall any such room be occupied unless it is at least seven feet high in every part, from the floor to the ceiling; nor unless the ceiling of the room is at least two feet above the curb level; nor unless there is the use of a water closet for such room; nor unless there is outside of, and adjoining the room, and extending along its entire frontage, an area of at least 2 feet 6 inches in width at every part, the area to be properly drained, and the room to have a window or windows at least nine square feet in area opening to the outer air, and one-half of the window must be made to open readily.
Cellar Walls, Ceilings, etc. - The cellar walls and ceilings of every tenement house must be whitewashed or painted a light color by the owner at least once a year. Roofs of tenement houses must be kept in good repair so as not to leak. Every tenement house must have water furnished in sufficient quantity at one or more places on each floor, and the owner must supply proper and suitable tanks, pumps or other appliances to receive and distribute an adequate supply of water at each floor at all times of the day and night through the entire year.
Every tenement house must be kept clean and free from any accumulation of dirt, filth or garbage, and the owner must provide proper and suitable receptacles for ashes, garbage, refuse and other material. No wall paper may be placed upon the wall of any tenement house unless all wall paper shall have been removed therefrom and the wall and ceiling thoroughly cleansed. The walls of all areas, courts and shafts, unless built of a light-colored brick or stone, must be thoroughly whitewashed by the owner at least once in three years, or painted a light color at least once in five years. The keeping of certain animals on premises is prohibited, and no tenement may be used for a lodging house or stable.
In new tenement houses basements may be occupied for living purposes only when at least nine feet high in every part from the floor to the ceiling, when the ceiling of the room is at least four feet six inches above the curb-level, and there is a separate water closet provided for the use of the room. Such rooms must have a window opening directly upon the street or upon the yard or on a court of the minimum size prescribed in the act, and the total window area of the room must be at least one-eighth of the superficial area of the room. The walls surrounding the room must be dampproof, and the floor of the room must be both waterproof and dampproof. In all tenement houses hereafter erected, whether the basement is to be occupied for living purposes or not, the walls below the ground level and all cellar floors must be dampproof and water proof. In addition to the above, janitors' apartments are permitted in the cellars of new buildings, provided they do not contain more than five rooms and bath, are located in the rear of the building, and are entirely above the level of the adjoining yard and courts and also the ceiling is at least two feet above the curb-level of the street in front of the building.