Monday, March 15, 2010

Group thinks basement living should be encouraged

From Urban Omnibus:

“Nearly 40% of the new housing created from 1990 to 2005 were illegal apartments. Many of them are in basements or cellars. These units exist because there isn’t enough affordable housing in NYC.” -Seema Agnani, Executive Director, Chhaya Community Development Corporation

No, they exist because owners are greedy and/or mortgages are ridiculously inflated in this city. There is plenty of "affordable" housing here. Of course if all you can afford is to split your rent with 4 other people because you are here illegally and work for less than minimum wage, then perhaps not.

Basement apartments are a legitimate source of affordable housing; the issue is that they need to be brought up to code. If they were, unsafe conditions would be improved, tenants could be guaranteed their rights, and owners could regularize their ability to collect rent and insure the protection of their property. But we’ve found that many elected officials are afraid to touch this issue; they see it as an issue of neighborhood preservation, with a lot of the more established residents feeling that new immigrants are coming in and ruining their communities. But the City is draining all sorts of resources. Judges in the court system are frustrated with the number of complaints, but there is nothing they can do to tackle the issue. The Department of Buildings is tired of having to issue these fines, despite the revenue. It’s also a huge drain on public resources, resulting in overcrowded schools and overstretched social service provision. But if these units and the population that resides in them could be planned for, it could really be a resource for the city. So last year we went about the process of documenting how many of these units actually exist.

Has nothing to do with not wanting immigrants moving in, as most communities are made up of immigrants or their descendants. It has to do with community planning having been done for a certain number of people and then augmenting the maxed out population by half without increases in services (You know - increased sewer, school, electricity and garbage collection services - things that never happen.) "The Department of Buildings is tired of having to issue these fines, despite the revenue." Give me a break. The Department of Buildings could be a gold mine if they weren't told to look the other way on illegal conversions. Let's remember: "Where will all the people living in them go?" was actually Mayor Bloomberg's reply to the leadership of the Queens Civic Congress years ago when they told him that illegal conversions were their number one concern.

The population will never be planned for if Bloomberg's sanctuary city policy remains in effect which basically encourages unchecked immigration and there is little to no consequence for having illegal rental units in one's home.

The majority of these units exist in the outer boroughs, they exist in immigrant communities that have established hubs. Their temples are here; their mosques are here; their community is here. People are willing to live in overcrowded conditions in order to be in these communities. Particularly in Queens, there really has been very little investment in affordable housing developments. If you look at where all of the development has occurred by the non-profit or for-profit sector, it’s pretty shocking when you see how little has been done in this borough. Of course there are political reasons for that, but I also think there’s a perception that everyone in Queens lives in historic single-family homes or nice condos and co-ops. There’s really a need to educate the broader public about the borough itself and what’s going on here. This is where the majority of new immigrants have settled in New York City.

"People are willing to live in overcrowded conditions in order to be in these communities." Bullshit. People live in cellars because they are here illegally, have criminal records or bill collectors after them and this gives them the best shot at not being detected.

"I also think there’s a perception that everyone in Queens lives in historic single-family homes or nice condos and co-ops." More bullshit. The majority of land use in Queens is 2 and 3 family homes. R-4 is the predominant zoning throughout the outer boroughs.

Try selling your bullshit to Brooklyn and see how far you get.


Joe said...

I wonder how long before some law is passed stating if you only have a 2 or 3 people in the household you MUST rent your unused basement or room.
That or pay some huge "waste of space" penalty or tax to keep it private.
I kinda see that being rammed down home owners throats at gunpoint.

I had some real estate agent contact me looking to find me tenants for the old Ridgewood house.
Told her no thanks over my dead body and why !
She got all hissy "what do you have against immigrants Blah blah blah some day YOU WILL HAVE TOO. (the called me a racist pig)
I told her she was a green pig my last tenants were from Poland (the truth) they only moved out so the kid could have friends and go to school in Long Island not some monkey cage 6 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

Ho-ly Ci-ty Jerusalem.

Crappy kicks ass!!!

Anonymous said...

This is killing the city.If you live in an apartment witout a c of o,youdon't have to payrent,legally speaking.And when the landlord goes to court to evict you,he gets screwed!

Anonymous said...

Housing prices are still way too inflated in NYC. $500K for a plywood shack on a 40x100 lot is way too much in a neighborhood where most people make less than $70K/year.

Anonymous said...

Seema Agnani, Executive Director, must have a lot of illegal friends and family.

Go and rent your basement and find when you come home they burned down your house. Ok, fire insurance, right? Well no, you have an illegal basement apartment from where the fire originated. The policy states single family home. Hello people your taking your lives and financial health as well as the live of others you rent to in your hands! Good, luck.

Anonymous said...

Greed has not only gotten this country's economy into a mess, but it's ruined us at the local level by overcrowding our schools, overburdening our utility services and killing illegal tenants and firefighters. All because greedy tenants want to make an extra buck. When will the city make this stop?

Anonymous said...

come on, if you can't beat them, join them!

Anonymous said...

I thought the city had no money. Expand the DOB and start cracking down on all these illegal apartments. Do the three strikes you are out rule. First send a letter, then a follow-up letter, then nail the third one to the door. No response -- Court Order to Inspect the Property. Sweeten the pot and give $100 for a neighbor who's tip pays off if they know of an illegal apartment. Good citizens would get their communities back and the city would reap a ton of cash.

Anonymous said...

Why not an inspection every so often like they do for boilers? You don't let them in, you get a fine and lien put on your house.

The Eye That Sees All said...

Like the acceptance of gays being crammed down our throat, this is the result of yet another tweeding effort by the machine to maintain their stranglehold on our community by rigging things to ensure they remain in power.

The reality is the immigrants in that area (and I know the church that hosts this group for a fee - subisdizing a pastor that works about 4 hours a week for a high five figure package) can't stand living conditions in Elmhurst and Corona.

They stay about 4 or 5 years, and move on to a relative that lives in Delaware, or upstate, or Pennsylvania, where there is a backyard, rooms with windows above ground, and ok schools.

This is yet another example of how the elites in our city have turned back time to a heartless era where innocent people are exploited as they seek better lives - and their own padrones deliver them like so much cordwood.

Auntie Invasion said...

"You don't let them in, you get a fine and lien put on your house."
the fourth amendment is still operating in this country. Can't do that, would you want that done to you, poster?

how about the fact that illegal apartments are where poor people can afford the rent?

not that I am condoning it, but not everyone who is living in a basement, cellar, attic, garage or converted room is a criminal.

In Queens, go to the housing court and observe. the judges will order the landlord to remove all appliances from the basement or attic. the tenant will get evicted. in about six months guess what? new tenant is in there at an even higher rent.
Same problems with no heat, no hot water, leaks, mold and bedbugs, but more money for slumlord who knows that they are renting out an illegal space.

according the MDL Multiple Dwelling Law- "cellars and attics are not to be used as dwelling places in NYC"

walk around Queens, count the numerous Con Edison meters on the outside of one or two family houses. as much as nine or ten in some cases. wonder why there was a black out a couple of years ago? imagine what this is doing to the sewer and water system.

One friend in Woodside lived on the second floor of a house where she could not flush toilet paper. If she did the landlord flipped out as the plumbing couldn't handle toilet paper and would break down in the entire house. Friend had to throw out all her used toilet paper in the garbage. I told her to call the health department.

and it is all done out in the open. Lots of these slumlords are illegal immigrants and immigrants. They have complete disregard for Americans and our laws. They are operating with a third world mentality with an iron clad caste system. They have made Queens their power base.

the last time public housing was built in NYC was 1964.

then the City did a study that said we only have to preserve the already existing housing stock, HPD was born.

HPD fines are another way that Bloomberg is choosing to ignore as City revenue. Slumlords settle for pennies on the dollar when they are fined in NYC Housing Court. don't believe? then go to Sutphin Blvd and observe the HP -Housing Preservation Part.

Tenants who complain to any city agency are often bullied by slumlords, who will shut off water and electricity. In some cases slumlords are not fined.

By ignoring HPD fines for landlords the City is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
amazing while Blooomberg is crying poverty.

Anonymous said...

Since I do not have an illegal apartment, it would not bother me. We allow government people into our homes all the time to inspect the boilers, to read meters, etc. Add this to the list. Since I am being told I must allow a contractor into my home to change my water meter or face a penalty, I don't see the difference in allowing the DOB to do the same.

Deke DaSilva said...

I don't understand why you people are all upset about this.

Shouldn't we simply change our laws in order to accomodate these wonderful folks?

Personally, I welcome our new high IQ immigrant overlords! I'm willing to accept their customs such as polygamy and suttee.

After all, diversity is our strength!

Anonymous said...

"The majority of land use in Queens is 2 and 3 family homes. R-4 is the predominant zoning throughout the outer boroughs"

Anyone know the website where I can find the zoning for EVERY building in NYC?

Anonymous said...

LibertyBoyNYC said...

To the pols it's a customer-issue. Why turn back more taxpayers? Cram 'em into every square foot!!!

Queens Crapper said...

Anonymous said...

how come the world was so much better before they crammed diversity down our throats?

I never once heard anyone say they wanted this illegal group or that illegal group in their lives,when I was growing up.

i never heard an adult say: "Wow, Mabel, wouldn't it be great if Mexicans and ______istans moved in and they were in our schools? Our lives would be so complete."

King of [Silent] Cartoons said...

Affordable housing in NYC? Bullshit.