What Are Lot Line Windows?

June 15, 2023

When you’re buying an apartment, whether it’s a condo or co-op, you may not realize that there are certain windows that don’t count as legal bedrooms. If you’re considering buying a home with lot line windows, make sure to check the offering plan or ask your agent to be clear on whether they are part of the bedroom count.

A lot line window is a window that’s flush against the property line. They’re not considered to be real windows by the Department of Buildings because they don’t open for air and light and they pose a fire safety risk. If a neighboring building builds up to the height of a lot line window, the city will require the adjacent building owner to close it up — usually at their own expense.

What’s more, in New York City, there is no guarantee that your lot line windows will be protected. This is especially true if you live in a historic district, where developers often build one- to two-story rooftop additions.

While it’s not a common occurrence, anecdotes suggest that lots of NYC apartments with lot line windows have been bricked over in recent years as developers rush to put buildings on any vacant lot larger than a postage stamp. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this. The latest guidance from the Department of Buildings offers flexibility to building owners that have lot line windows based on three factors. If you’re interested in learning more about what are lot line windows and how to avoid getting them bricked over, contact us to schedule a code consultation.


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