The fiscal crisis had hit the city forcing the government to forge creative ways to house its people. In the 1980 and 1990s, the city’s housing expenditures amounted to more than three times the housing expenditures for the next 32 years (Tauranac, 1979). This was facilitated by former Mayor Ed Koch’s ten-year plan on housing. Initially, Koch intended the plan to be actualized in five years. However, due to the increase in illegal housing units, and the inability of the state to provide housing the plan was stretched (Navarro, 2013). The graph below shows the increase in illegal apartments in New York between 1983 and 2013.
Challenges, however, have rocked the housing sector forcing people to take up alternative housing for example cellars and basement apartments. The government, however, does not support this action, as these housing units are not fit for human occupancy due to health and safety risks as specified by The New York City Building or Housing Maintenance code, Article 5- Occupancy of cellars and basements.
The policy targeted for reforms is the Housing Maintenance Code, (ARTICLE 5- Occupancy of Cellars and Basements). It states that basements, cellars, and “granny flats,” should not be rented or occupied due to health and safety measures. This policy can be found on the website.
As you are aware, Statistics from The housing experts estimate that there are 100,000 illegal apartments in New York City. Last year, Buildings Department officials acknowledged 18,126 complaints concerning illegal units (Belsha, n.d.). The City’s Department of Buildings’- DOB issues annually more than 4,440 violations for illegal conversion of basements, cellars, and attics: - which are not fit for human occupancy due to health and safety risks.