Sunday, April 8, 2007

Empowering inspectors

There's one community board who has the audacity to demand that building inspectors actually be given the authority to enter properties to inspect instead of just posting a meaningless LS4 on the door and leaving:

Board Seeks Council Action On Conversions

“A resolution was passed at the March 26 meeting by a vote of 22-0-2 to seek new City Council legislation that would require homeowners or occupants to allow access to DOB inspectors,” the letter says.

Board member Bess De Betham, president of the Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens Local Development Corporation, said residents in her Laurelton neighborhood are “disgusted” with new overcrowded buildings being erected on their streets.


rob said...

Considering how inept the DOB is, and considering how often bogus complaints come into the agency via 311, is it really a good idea to give them the ability to just wander into people's homes?

As disgusted as I am about the fact that there are thousands of illegal conversions and modifications to homes, and the DOB cannot enter to give a summons, I'm against giving them the power to enter my home or anyone else's home without either a search warrant, or a damn good reason.

I personally have had DOB visit my home for an "illegal basement conversion." Each time, I've let them in to inspect. It's obvious to anyone that looks in my basement that nothing but rats and roaches would want to live down there, and the DOB inspectors must've agreed. But I'm getting tired of trying to accommodate them. I'm also getting tired of the nut that must be calling me in. I want the ability to say "no" to someone trying to enter my house.

We need a law that is somewhere between the current law, and something that diminishes our rights as homeowners.

NY Zeitgeist said...

Oh yeah, I think that police should just be able to enter your home. Emperor Bloomberg and his court jester Pinky too while we are at it. In fact, I think that you must house any British troops that pass through your town too! Oh wait....these are just the reasons that we are supposedly a free nation today.

No sir, there are better ways.


hooper said...

Right now, you can file a complaint with the DOB if you believe that you are the target of harassment by having false complaints filed against you. They look at their past visits to your home where they found nothing and they put a notation in their system. If it gets really bad, they'll investigate to see who is doing it. If they have cause to believe that you have a dangerous situation in your home, they can get a search warrant from the courts, like they did for the Maspeth flophouse. The problem is that they don't use that option enough.

Anonymous said...

A requirement that DOB simply ENFORCE the laws & regs we have now would be preferable. Tearing down some of the "self-certified" crap would be a giant step in the right direction.

verdi said...

I fully agree with "Rob" on this!

Anonymous said...

You guys should stop bellyaching. Illegal conversions are a plague that takes money out of everyone's pocket.

Buildings are regularly entered into by building inspectors, NYFD inspectors, boiler inspectors, etc.

If you truly understand the problem you would put up with this. Complaining you just play into the hands of those who are taking advantage of the system.

West said...

I think increasing the penalties may begin to discourage, and may even be an incentive to legalize the unit(s) where zoning and building codes allow.

The current fines are insignificant, and are often seen as a way of doing business for the offenders.

Also, there are currently no penalties for the illegal tenants aside from eviction. The crime involves both landlord and tenant to form the relationship. This fosters a cycle, where the illegal tenants are free from financial penalty, and will almost certainly seek another illegal apartment.

rob said...

Good point, west.

Anonymous said...

Garden Apartment in Queens are now being divided into seperat tax lots and sold as priviate 2 family homes to may foreign born buyers. Since these types of complexe buildings have to be researched individualy creates a problem and the buyer is not aware of the problems and laws related to these purchases. I know of no complex that has more than ONE MANAGEMENT. This has resulted in new owners increasing rents 100% with no knowledge of Rent Stabalization Laws or requirements. Have they been defrauded??