Maybe. First, the basement space needs to meet various building code requirements, including the following:
- Minimum ceiling height of seven feet
- Separate entry and exit
- Lighting, ventilation and sanitation requirements
- White or light-colored walls
- Damp- and water-proofed walls, if required by subsoil conditions (as determined by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development)
- At least one window per room, with the window sill at least six inches above the bottom of the yard or other open space
Second, even if the basement meets all of the city requirements, the building itself may present additional hurdles. For example, the owner of a two-family building cannot rent a basement apartment without filing for a new certificate of occupancy. In this case, the addition of a basement would change the status from a two-family building to a multiple dwelling. This key change introduces new requirements, based on the Multiple Dwelling Law.