Monday, January 26, 2009

Bad economy may lead to more illegal conversions

From the Daily News:

When Jesus Castellanos, a construction worker, became jobless in the fall of 2007, he knew he had to cut expenses - big time.

So the 30-year-old moved in with two other men into a small room in a Jackson Heights home for $175 a month.

There was no heat or electricity, and at least 13 other people shared the five-bedroom home, all of them Latino immigrants. But for Castellanos, originally from Mexico, it was the only thing between him and a homeless shelter.

Despite the city's ongoing efforts to shutter unsafe dwellings, illegal conversions remain a chronic problem, illustrated starkly by the recent eviction of tenants from a home in East Elmhurst with no fire escapes or sprinklers.

In the East Elmhurst home on 41st Ave. that was recently shuttered, people were living in a converted garage. There was no second exit, no sprinkler system and insufficient light and ventilation. The owner of the home, Mohammed Ali, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.


You can blame the lack of "market rate" housing or the lack of "affordable" housing, but the sad reality is that illegal apartments happen because people (many times criminals or illegal aliens) want a cheap place to stay, landlords make tax free money off them and the City does very little to stop it.

13 comments:

Wade Nichols said...

Another somber reminder is the trial stemming from the 2005 fire that claimed the lives of two firefighters in an overcrowded Bronx apartment.

Happy Land Social Club sound familiar?

But of course, if something tragic does happen, they can always blame "the economy" rather then do something sane like enforce laws already on the books, and have building inspectors go in and issue tickets to the landlords of the illegal conversions.

If that fails, maybe they can ask for some Federal bailout money, and provide free housing for our "guest workers". Preferably in Manhattan, in Caroline Schlossberg's building.

Lino said...

Being involved with the restaurant/bar business, I know a number of people who live in these types of apts.

While some of these illegal cut-ups are owned by former immigrants, the vast majority are still owned by those "great Americans" and "dittoheads" who drive up to their properties to collect rent (cash only) with wabc on their car radios.

You know the type, they'll post on a site such as this complaining of
"illegals" -but take their cash and cheap labor just the same.

Anonymous said...

blame the real estate brokers.They sell houses to people who can't afford them and tell them to rent the basements.

Anonymous said...

While some of these illegal cut-ups are owned by former immigrants, the vast majority are still owned by those "great Americans" and "dittoheads" who drive up to their properties to collect rent (cash only) with wabc on their car radios.

Lino to the above ditto-head I expouse "Arrest him for criminal behavior for harboring illeagals" and remove all profit gained from such individuals or otherwise unlawful dwelling leased to anyone. As for the illegal criminal - arrest them and sentence them to prison in the US, then deport them to home country.

Trilby said...

I know it is hard to find cheap rents, and people want to make money on their real estate, but it stinks being a neighbor of one of these chopped up houses. Zoning needs to be enforced.

Snake Plissskin said...

You can blame the lack of "market rate" housing or the lack of "affordable" housing, but the sad reality is that illegal apartments happen because people (many times criminals or illegal aliens) want a cheap place to stay, landlords make tax free money off them and the City does very little to stop it

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Add to the list the preservation community that says nothing and does less.

Well they are making up secret little lists they exchange with each other like the folks over at the Sacred Sites program.

Missing Foundation said...

They claim that immigration is at its lowest ebb in decades

Don't beleive it.

Democrat propoganda so out of work American citizens don't get angry that their livelyhood is being tossed so some third rate hacks can benefit from tweeding.

If things are bad here, it is intolerable elsewhere.

A flood will become a raging torrent.

Anonymous said...

why is this such a bad thing if it keeps them off the street. butt out government, you are of no help here, you just put these people out on the streets. i'm sick of these bureacrats deciding what is "livable" or not and completely ignore the practicality of their draconian regulations of someone's PRIVATE PROPERTY.

Queens Crapper said...

Yes, and when 10 people die in a fire because they are in an illegally converted cellar, you;ll be the first to say that the government should have prevented the tragedy.

Anonymous said...

"But it stinks being a neighbor of one of these chopped up houses. Zoning needs to be enforced.Yes, and when 10 people die in a fire because they are in an illegally converted cellar, you;ll be the first to say that the government should have prevented the tragedy.

Amen - I and you live abiding by the laws for good reason - the law was crafted to protect the greater public from harm and fairness. So illegals, hiding in plain sightm living in unsafe housing that the City turns a blind eye to, while allowing landlords to reap income without paying taxes. It's an endless cycle of lawlessness that I have have to sit back and be told I am not tolerant and must give away my quality of life, endanger my house and family living next to fire-traps. I should go out and break laws and see what I reap!

Miles Mullin said...

If you add up all the illegals, the illegal hires, the illegal dwellings, the illegal construction activity, and add to it the illegal quality of life things, we live in a lawless age.

All this just simmering beneath the surface and no one seems to care.

CJ said...

Miles,

I guess nobody believes that this will ever boil over at some point.
I can visualize them now asking "What happened? How could we have stopped this?"

All too late.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your stupid comments Ms. Nichols, here are some facts ignorant people like you on this site might have missed;

In 2008, DOB Quality of Life unit issued over 4,000 illegal conversion violations, over 1,000 vacates in Queens.
Maybe if ECB and DOF did their part, things might be better.
Enforcement is not a problem, GREED is.
That's what drives our economy.

READ THOMPSON'S REPORT POSTED ON THIS SITE OR BETTER YET DOWNLOAD IT FROM NYC COMPTROLLER'S SITE