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Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone


The BASE (Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone) campaign is a coalition of community organizations, advocates, tenants, homeowners, and community members who are organizing working-class neighborhoods and communities of color to increase the number of legally-recognized, affordable, and safe basement apartments, as well as other accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) in New York City. 


Current Challenge:

New York City is in an affordability crisis. On the frontlines of this crisis are low- and moderate-income communities, immigrants, communities of color, and essential workers. Basement apartments are one of the few affordable housing options available for many of our communities. Tenants are struggling to find affordable housing. Aspiring homeowners can no longer afford to buy in their neighborhoods. Existing homeowners are struggling to afford their property taxes without additional income. Basement apartments and ADUs are a means to help stabilize homeownership, significantly add to the  affordable housing stock, preserve our diverse communities, and prevent displacement. However, in NYC, it is nearly impossible to build basement apartments and ADUs. Existing units are illegal and have been long met with punitive measures, rather than recognized for the opportunity and innovation they add to New York City’s housing market.



Our coalition envisions a New York City where the potential for 200,000 potential basement and cellar apartments becomes a reality. We came together as a coalition to fight for the rights of tenants currently living in basements or in need of affordable housing, for homeowners renting or wanting to rent their basements, and to push back against the stigma of basement apartments. Basement units are a vital part of the city’s affordable housing stock. We need to find safe and secure ways to formalize these units to make them legally recognized. There should be equity in the provision of resources available to small homeowners who are providing affordable housing by providing access to city subsidies, grants,  and abatements that   create and preserve affordable housing in our neighborhoods. Likewise, tenants of basement apartments need the same protections and rights afforded to rent stabilized tenants in NYC such as lease renewal and eviction protection and units that are up-to-code. Our coalition believes that the best solutions are ones that come from this holistic community and especially those who are most impacted by the city’s archaic housing laws.

For more information about the BASE campaign, contact Rima Begum at:

Main Office:
37-43 77th St, 2nd Floor, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Contact: 718.478.3848;

Richmond Hill Center:
121-18 Liberty Avenue, 2nd Floor, Richmond Hill, NY 11419
Contact: 718.374.3371;


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