As Port Chester continues its safe housing efforts and a series of fires fan the flames of debate about illegal housing in the village, some readers have asked how housing inspectors determine if a home is overcrowded.
The most common question: Do they count the mattresses?
Yes and no.
Mattresses and bedding are one indication that more people are crammed into a home or apartment, but it's just one sign among many that inspectors look for when they review a home.
Other telltale signs include the growing forests of garbage cans left curbside when too many tenants occupy a home; more cars parked on streets and in driveways; and alterations, usually performed without permits, designed to put usually non-habitable spaces to use as apartments or sleeping quarters. Some examples from Port Chester include enclosed porches, and "apartments" in basements and attics.
Finally, New York State's Property Maintenance Code sets minimum requirements based on square footage and the number of people living in a dwelling:
404.5 Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum area requirements of Table 404.5.
TABLE 404.5 MINIMUM AREA REQUIREMENTS
MINIMUM AREA IN SQUARE FEET
6 or more occupants
Shall comply with Section 404.4
For SI: 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2.
See Section 404.5.2 for combined living room/dining room spaces.
See Section 404.5.1 for limitations on determining the minimum occupancy area for sleeping purposes.
Got a question about a recent news story? E-mail your questions for use in a future explainer column.
Follow Port Chester Patch!