Sunday, November 22, 2009

City turns blind eye to illegal conversions

From the NY Times:

For at least two years before a fire killed three men in an illegally divided house next door, Diane Ross and her family lived in an illegal apartment at 42-38 65th Street in Woodside, Queens.

Their life there — in a basement divided into one apartment and four single-room units, with six others upstairs, all crammed into a two-family house — seemed to them to be business as usual, and attracted no special notice. Neither the tenants nor their landlord, who said he charged $107 a month for each room, tried to hide it.

Con Edison workers entered the house in 2007 to make repairs. The city taxed the house as a three-family home, even though it was built for two. And the Ross family and their landlord say that city agencies visited their apartment and helped pay their rent for about two years — until Nov. 7, when the fatal blaze swept through the basement next door, killing the three men.

After that, building inspectors declared Ms. Ross’s apartment a hazard and ordered her out.

The Administration for Children’s Services and the Human Resources Administration, which provide rent assistance in various situations, said they could not reveal whether they had supported Ms. Ross’s family, citing confidentiality rules. They said that they checked documents and sometimes visited clients’ homes, but that they did not function as building inspectors.

But the story of 65th Street illustrates a problem often cited by housing advocates: Dangerous, illegal apartments often exist in plain sight, under the noses of overworked building inspectors whose job is to discover and fine violators, and of neighbors and workers who are not responsible for combating illegal apartments but may see or learn of unsafe situations.


Anonymous said...

Something needs to be done, this is out of control. Maybe an illegal conversions blog, where home photos and addresses can be posted? Perhaps by raising awareness online and embarrassing the city, things will start getting done.

Anonymous said...

The city wont do anything but turn a blind eye to this. Mainly because then they would have to admit that illeagals are living in them...

Anonymous said...

The City will do something because the owners are not paying appropriate taxes to city, state and federal government.

make complaints to the DOB & HPD when you call 311, then give the service request numbers to your local community board.

scream for a commission to your city council members

Auntie Invasion said...

check out 5910 39th Avenue, Woodside, NY. there had been a fire in this combination, boarding house, social club, volley ball empire. why the big gate. each year they encroach on LIRR property making their volley ball court bigger.

they have a bar, social club in the back.
what the heck is this place?
when is someone going to contact the State Liquor Authority?

hear the screams of the happy, happy day laborers as they play volley ball sequestered from the natives.

a perfect cover for the trafficking young illegals for prostitution

Anonymous said...

The DOB one answers the door, they come one asnwers the door. Complaint resolved! It is a shame or should I say sham.