Families in Queens were forced onto the streets last week as their homes were found to be illegally converted to hold more people than intended to.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) served a notice to the owner of two neighboring buildings in Jamaica for squeezing over three dozen people into a limited amount of space on Thursday, March 13, according to initial televised reports.
The DOB responded to calls made by the Fire Department to make a structural stability inspection on a residence located at 148-49 88th Avenue. The inspection led to the issuance of a vacancy order after it was determined that the home was converted from a two-family apartment building into a five-family building. According to the DOB, “these conditions pose serious safety hazards to tenants and first responders.”
The neighboring residence, 148-47 88th Avenue was also found to be illegally converted into a three-family home, forcing inspectors to vacate families from there as well.
The owner of both Queens buildings, Misvah Ahmed, bought the homes about five years ago and claims that he tried to legalize the conversion of both houses in order to support a higher occupancy. According to Ahmed though, an architect he hired to handle the legalization of both buildings had filed the papers and the Department of Finance began taxing him as if the conversions were approved.
Illegal conversions force families into the street