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How Do I Know A Dwelling Is Safe and Legal?

  • Check New Rochelle Building’s Department Property Portal to see how your prospective dwelling is zoned. Visit, type in the address, and see how the building is zoned.
  • Look for signs it is legal: Is the apartment in the basement next to a boiler? Do you pay gas and electric utilities? If not, it’s most likely not legal.
  • If it is a basement, is there at least 7 feet of head room?
  • Does the dwelling have a working smoke detector inside and outside of the bedroom and on each level?
  • Is there a fire escape or stairs to help you get out of higher floors in case of an emergency or is there a working sprinkler system?
  • Are there two exits from every room in your dwelling?
  • Are exit routes kept clear?
  • Are public halls free from goods and materials, furniture, etc.?
  • Are furnaces, stoves, and stove pipes kept in good repair and located far enough at least two inches from combustible walls and ceilings so that they do not create a hazard?
  • Is there a carbon monoxide detector near bedrooms or sleeping areas and on each level? Plug in carbon monoxide detectors are best because they are lower to the ground and carbon monoxide is heavier than oxygen. You can also take these with you move to your next dwelling!
  • Is the outside door solid wood or strong metal clad with good quality locks?
  • Are there working locks on the windows? Do the windows work?
  • Are there windows within 40 inches of door locks?
  • Are the bushes and shrubs near windows trimmed back?
  • Are the strike plates on each door adequately secured?
  • Do door locks have deadbolts with a minimum one-inch throw?
  • Are the door hinges pinned to prevent removal?
  • Is there a peephole or a side light in the front door?
  • Are all of the outlet covers on and secure?
  • Is there any exposed wiring?
  • Are there any fixtures hanging from the ceiling?
  • Is there at least 80 square feet for one person in a bedroom and an additional 50 square feet for a second person?
  • In the bathroom, are all of the tiles in place?
  • Do all of the fixtures in the bathroom work?
  • Are there any cracks in any of the fixtures (like the toilet, etc.)?

Resource: New Rochelle Bureau of Buildings