A History of Tenement House Legislation in New York 1852-1900 Part IX
 

By Lawrence Veiller
 
 

(1867) —Chapter 939, Section 10.

In all dwelling-houses already erected in the city of New York intended to be occupied by four or more families above the first story, the superintendent of buildings shall have power to determine what alterations are necessary to be made in such buildings in order to afford a safe and secure means of escape in case of fire, and shall proceed therein as follows, to wit: He shall cause a notice to be served on the owner of said building (or where the owner cannot be found after diligent search for twenty-four hours, the notice shall be posted on the premises, and shall have all the effect of a personal service,) directing him to make the alterations set forth in said notice within the time specified therein, and in case the said owner refuses or neglects to comply with said order, the said superintendent shall thereupon apply to the supreme court for an order to proceed to make the alterations specified in said notice, and all costs and expenses and disbursements in the carrying out of said order shall become a lien upon the said building, and the supreme court, in the discretion of the judge to whom application shall be made, is hereby authorized to grant such order and take such proceedings as shall be necessary to make the same effectual, and to enforce said lien in accordance with the mechanic's lien law in the city of New York."

(1868) — Chapter 634, Section 2. (Amends Section 10, Chapter 939, of the Laws of 1867.) 

All dwelling-houses now erected, occupied by or built to contain two or more families on any of the floors above the first story, and all dwelling-houses now erected, more than three stories in height occupied by or built to contain four or more families, shall have a stairway connected with a proper bulkhead leading to the roof, and all rooms shall connect by doors from front to rear, and every such dwelling-house shall have placed thereon a practical fireproof fire escape that shall be approved of by the superintendent of buildings."

(1868) — Chapter 634, Section 2. (Amends Section 10, Chapter 939, of the Laws of 1867.)

Alterations to Existing Buildings. — "In all cases where any of the provisions of this section are not fully complied with either in buildings already erected or hereafter to be built, the superintendent of buildings shall have full power to make the same conform to the requirements of this section, and he shall proceed therein as follows, to wit: He shall cause a personal notice to be served on the owners, lessee, agent or any other person having a contingent interest therein, or in case no such person shall be found, then on any person in possession of said buildings, directing him or them to make the alterations set forth in said notice, within the time specified therein; and in case said owner or any of the persons thus notified refuses or neglects to comply with said order, the said superintendent shall thereupon apply to the supreme court at special term, for an order to proceed to make the alterations specified in said notice, and all costs, expenses and disbursements incurred in carrying out of said order, shall become a lien upon said building, and the supreme court at special term in the discretion of the judge to whom application shall be made, is hereby authorized to grant such order, and take such proceedings as shall be necessary to make the same effectual, and to enforce said lien in accordance with the mechanic's lien law of the city of New York, and in case the notice hereinbefore mentioned shall be served on any lessee or party in possession it shall be the duty of the person upon whom such service is made to give immediate notice thereof to the owner or agent of said building, personally, if such person shall be within the limits of the city of New York, and his residence shall be known, and if not within said city, then by depositing a copy of said notice in the post office in New York, properly enclosed and addressed to such owner or agent at his then place of residence, if known, and by paying the postage thereon. And in case any lessee or party in possession shall neglect and refuse to give said notice as herein provided, he shall be personally liable to the owner or owners of said buildings for all damages he or they shall sustain by reason thereof."

(1868)__Brooklyn__Chapter 632, Section 17. (Provisions of Section 7, Chapter 858, of the Laws of 1866, continued.)

(1871)__Chapter 625, Section 28. (Repeals all previous acts.)

"Any dwelling-house now erected or that may hereafter be erected in said city, more than two stories in height, occupied by or built to be occupied by two floor three families on any one of the floors above the first story, and all dwelling-houses now erected or that may hereafter be erected more than three stories in height, occupied by or built to be occupied by three or more families above the first story, and any building already erected or that may be hereafter erected more than two stories in height occupied as or built to be occupied as a lodging-house, shall be provided with such fire escapes, alarms, doors and ventilators as shall be directed and approved of by the superintendent of buildings."

(1874)__Chapter 547, Section 7. (Amends Section 28, Chapter 625, of the Laws of 1871.)

"Any dwelling-house now erected, or that may hereafter be erected, more than two stories in height, occupied by, or built to be occupied by, two or three families, on any floor above the first, and all buildings now erected, or that may be hereafter erected, more than four stories in height, occupied by, or built to be occupied by, three or more families, above the first story, and any building already erected, or that may hereafter be erected, more than three stories in height, occupied or used, or built to be occupied or used, as a lodging-house, and all buildings in an isolated position already erected or that may hereafter be erected, more than three stories in height built to contain or that does contain, or is occupied by, three or more families above the first story, shall be provided with such fire escapes, alarms and doors as shall be directed by the superintendent of buildings."

(1882) —Chapter 410, Section 499 (Consol. Act). Continued, with the exception that the words "fire department" are substituted for the words "superintendent of buildings " at the end.

(1882) — Chapter 410, Section 651. (Provisions of Section 3, Chapter 908,Laws of 1867,continued.)

(1885) — Chapter 456, Section 28. (Section 499, Consol. Act, amended.)

"All dwelling-houses now erected, or that may hereafter be erected more than two stories in height, occupied or built to be occupied by two or more families on any floor above the first, and all buildings already erected more than three stories in height, occupied or used as a lodging-house, shall be provided with such good and sufficient fire escapes or other means of egress in case of fire as shall be directed by the superintendent of buildings, and said superintendent shall direct such means of egress to be provided in all cases."

(1887) — Chapter 566, Section 26. (Amends Section 499, Consol. Act.)

"All dwelling-houses now erected, or that may hereafter be erected, more than two stories in height, occupied by or built to be occupied by two or more families on any floor above the first, and all buildings now erected, or that may hereafter be erected, more than four stories in height, occupied by or built to be occupied by three or more families above the first story, and every building already erected or that may hereafter be erected, more than three stories in height, occupied and used as a lodging-house, shall be provided with such good and sufficient fire escapes or other means of egress in case of fire as shall be directed by the superintendent of buildings, and said superintendent shall direct such means of egress to be provided in all cases where he shall deem the same necessary."

(1887) — Chapter 566, Section 26. (Amends Section 499, of the Consol. Act.)

"At least one flight of stairs in each of said buildings (every dwelling-house exceeding five stories in height hereafter erected or altered to be occupied by two or more families on any floor above the first, and every dwelling-house over sixty feet in height, hereafter erected or altered to be occupied by two or more families on any floor above the first, and every dwelling-house over sixty feet in height hereafter erected or altered to be occupied by more than one family) shall extend to the roof and be enclosed in a bulkhead of fireproof materials."

(1888) — Brooklyn — Chapter 583, Consol. Act, Section 16.

"Every building that is now or may be hereafter erected shall have a scuttle or place of egress in the roof thereof of proper size, to be approved by the said commissioner, and shall have ladders or stairways leading to the same; and all said scuttles and stairways or ladders leading to the roof shall be kept in readiness for use at all times. And all scuttle frames or scuttle doors shall be made of or covered with copper, zinc, tin or iron."

(1888) — Brooklyn — Chapter 583, Consol. Act, Section 16.

"Any dwelling-house now erected or that may hereafter be erected in the city more than two stories in height, occupied or built to be occupied by two or more families on any one of the floors above the first story, and all dwelling-houses now erected or that may hereafter be erected more than two stories in height, occupied by or built to be occupied by three or more families above the first story, and any building already erected or that may hereafter be erected more than two stories in height, occupied as or built to be occupied as a lodging-house, shall be provided with such fire escapes and doors as shall be directed and approved by the commissioner.
Any person after being notified by said commissioner who shall neglect to place upon any such building the fire. escape herein provided for, shall forfeit the sum of five hundred dollars, and shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor."


 

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: A History of Tenement House Legislation in New York 1852-1900 Part IX
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

Source:

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Tenement House Problem; Including the Report of the New York State Tenement House Commission of 1900. By Various Writers; The MacMillan Company-New York 1903
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