Friday, March 6, 2020
The worst little hostel in Kew Gardens
Forest Hills Post
A quiet Kew Gardens home was illegally converted into a dormitory-style, transient hotel with as many as four bunk beds to a room over the summer — and the law-breaking homeowner was slapped with more than $100,000 in violations.
The two-family home, located at 121-08 84th Ave., was converted to a six-family home with three units on the first floor and three more in the attic level, according to Department of Buildings (DOB) summons.
The homeowner, Edward J. Erhard IV, was issued with 12 summonses and fined $108,500 for the violations. At a hearing in late January, a judge upheld the charges — which include illegal conversion of occupancy and illegal construction without permits — and ordered Erhard to pay the large sum.
Complaints of the illegal hotel operation date back to July 2018 with neighbors stating as many as 16 to 18 people were staying at the two-family house, according to DOB records.
Rooms within the house, which sits on a residential tree-lined block, were advertised on Facebook, according to the complaints.
When an inspector was finally able to enter the building on July 11, 2019 with the help of law enforcement, he found several long-term and transient renters sharing rooms within the house — with as many as three people to a room, according to hearing testimony.
The inspector met two women who were paying $40 a night for a one-night stay — one was sharing a room with a long-term tenant, while the other was staying on the living room couch.