From The Real Deal:
The city Office of Emergency Management vacated several Chinatown buildings during the last six weeks of 2008 because of fire safety violations, often due to landlords who illegally divided floors into single-room occupancy units, blocking exits and sprinklers. The office only notifies the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development about displaced tenants if they are living in legal units, leaving many of the illegal tenants on their own to find temporary housing. Continue on to Downtown Express for the full article, which includes the following:
Li Xue, who did not want her family name to be published because she is undocumented, was paying $400 a month for her unit at 32 Market St. that fit only a bed and TV. H.P.D. said they typically help illegal immigrants like Li Xue, but not when their units have been illegally subdivided.
Five other families lived in equally small units on her floor, and all shared a bathroom and kitchen. When it rained, water leaked through the ceiling and Li Xue had to place buckets to catch it. Still, it was home.
But the Buildings Department found many violations at the building, where the illegally subdivided units blocked off emergency exit routes. The fire escape was dislodged from the building and missing about 15 steps, and the chimney was in imminent danger of collapsing, according to D.O.B.’s Web site.
1) City encourages illegal immigration
2) City turns a blind eye to most illegal conversions and the occupants live in slumlike conditions.
3) In the cases where the City actually cracks down, the person living in the country illegally in the illegal unit gets screwed and nothing happens to the criminal landlord.