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Building Requirements for Remodeling Co-Ops in NYC

I have dealt with an uncountable amount of co-op boards. Now, I’ll tell you that they all seem to be in agreement that having shareholders renovate and modernize their apartments is a good thing because it creates higher sales comps when units are sold for higher prices. This, in essence, increases the value of all the units in the building. But I will also tell you that, despite their willingness to allow renovations, they still don’t make it easy on the homeowner.

NYC co-op boards have strict building requirements. That’s one of the reasons why it is so important to choose a great design team(LINK TO BLOG “Choosing the best design team in NYC”) like the one I’ve built at NYKB.(LINK TO Home Page) Our goal is to use our Manhattan renovation experience to save you time, effort, and money by knowing these building requirements from the start. Then we can plan to deal with them in the most efficient way possible. But it is also good for you to know some of these requirements before you hire anyone to complete your renovation. Here are few of the ones you might run across in your co-op building:

Restrictions in your “alteration agreement.” Before you have someone like NYKB Kitchen & Bath visit your space, you might want to review your alteration agreement so you get an idea of what the conditions are. Of course, we can help you interpret everything. But giving the agreement a good review, and having it on hand, is a good place to start.

The need for architectural/design drawings before approval. Many co-op buildings will require this before they approve your project. It can be time-consuming, and often costly. That’s why in many cases it makes sense for you to work with a design and build firm that can handle your entire remodeling process from start to finish. Companies like NYKB will work with you to figure out exactly what you want, have it all drawn up, submit it to the board, and answer any questions they might have. We will also go back and forth with the building engineer until we get to an approved plan. All of this will be done before any materials are even ordered, saving you time and money.


Restrictions on when the work can be done. Many co-ops have extremely restrictive rules on scheduling. If you don’t know them up front, it could really end up costing you. Often, there are rules on what time of the day you can have remodeling work done, as well as stipulations on whether work can occur on the weekends. You also need to pay particular attention to whether your co-op restricts remodeling in specific months of the year. I’ve heard of nightmare scenarios where homeowners were not aware of these rules, missed a deadline they didn’t know existed, and then had to wait multiple months to have their job completed. Thankfully, that has never happened to an NYKB client, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to live in an apartment with a ripped-out kitchen for months because your contractor was not allowed back in the building.


Rules you had no idea existed. These can vary from building-to-building. For example, some buildings will not let you move any interior walls, which can really affect things like kitchen remodeling. They also may have rules about having no new “wet space” over existing “dry space.” This means that you cannot move your kitchen or bathroom to an area of the home that’s above your downstairs neighbor’s living room or bedroom. These Manhattan specific renovation rules are just another reason why you really need to hire an experienced and reputable design and build firm for your renovation.

If you’re considering having remodeling work done to your New York apartment, and you’d like some help reviewing your co-op’s building requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my team at NYKB Kitchen & Bath. You can reach us at (212) 242-3500, or click here to fill out our online form. We are happy to assist you.

Perry Hiiman Owner of NYKB Renovation