New York City real estate has a lot of intricacies and quirks, but one of the more important ones that purchasers need to be aware of are lot line windows. Lot line windows are windows located directly on edge of the building’s property line. These windows are common in New York City where space is scarce and developers try to maximize square footage. Lot line windows can be a headache because they can devalue a property and need to adhere to strict guidelines.
Whenever a wall of a building is flush against the property line, the windows on that wall will most likely be deemed lot line windows by the Department of Buildings. If the adjacent property ever builds up to the height of the window, the window must be permanently boarded up, usually at the owner’s expense.
Lot line windows can prevent a room in a property from being deemed a legal bedroom. In NYC, to be characterized as a bedroom, the room needs a window that provides a certain amount of natural light. Lot line windows cannot satisfy this requirement because theoretically they may have to be closed up, depriving the room of the required natural light. If a room has only lot line windows, this room is not a legal bedroom. A property with this type of room cannot advertise the property as if the room was a bedroom. Often, listings will refer to a room with only lot line windows as a ‘home office’.
Additionally, if a lot line window has not yet been required to be boarded up, it must meet certain specifications to protect from fires spreading to and from the building. Among the requirements, the window must be made of a fire-rated glass, which is more expensive than normal glass. Also, in some instances, a sprinkler will need to be strategically placed by the window.
If you are concerned that a property you are interested in may have lot line windows or have any other questions about real estate law, please contact the New York City real estate attorneys at the Kanen Law Firm.