Saturday, September 20, 2014

Illegal conversions left uninspected

From Brooklyn Daily:

Ridgites and politicians are scrambling to stop greedy property owners from illegally dicing up one-family homes into multi-family flophouses, but holes in legislation and enforcement mean there is no silver bullet.

“We have to chip away at this piece by piece,” said Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann.

The board’s Land Use Committee met twice about the growing problem over the summer recess and is finalizing a list of recommendations to the city for quashing illegal conversions. Chief among them is a request for the Department of Buildings to focus enforcement on “hot spots” where residents log the most 311 complaints about conversions.

The city receives an average of 20,000 illegal conversion complaints a year. Since 2012, the city received more than 1,100 such complaints in Community Board 10 alone, and it has followed up on less than half, our analysis of city data shows.

The city sent inspectors to verify fewer than 300 of the complaints. And in half of those cases, inspectors never got into the building. When the department receives a 311 complaint, it dispatches inspectors to see if the complaint is warranted. But they only make two attempts to enter a questionable building. If nobody lets them in either time, the department just closes the complaint.

Of 282 inspections the department mounted since 2012, 76 resulted in no violation, 29 resulted in some kind of punitive measure by the city, and the other 177 cases were closed because inspectors were turned away at the door or residents were not home, according to city data.

But if the city can send more inspectors to Bay Ridge, it may have better luck getting into suspected conversions, board members said.


We're Queens - We Can't Have Nice Things said...

Just hire and train inspectors and pay their salaries with the fines!

But have a lot of oversight and duplication so that they're not easily bought off!

Anonymous said...

You want hotspots -- try the blocks from Calamus to Grand Ave on 73rd and 74th Maspeth 52nd Drive is filled with illegal tenants

Anonymous said...

Ask DOB to conduct an administrative search warrant of inspection !
It was the only thing that worked against a home here in North Flushing with 34-311 complaints. The owner knew and instructed all the illegal tenants to never let any DOB inspectors in. So after a while (7 Years) the DOB came with two detectives with search warrants and DOB shut the illegal home down.
Check out the home 33-53 155th Street Flushing 11354

Middle Villager said...

Good luck! The landlords of these houses know not to let inspectors in and they instruct the tennents not to either. Besides the dirty little secret is the city does not want to stop these illegal conversions. Even when the inspectors get in and write violations nothing happens. Have one on my block with violation going back to 2007 that has been brought to the attention of my Council person several times and still has same illegal tennants in there. The only time any attention gets paid is when a few people cook in a fire

Anonymous said...

So why is this an obvious ongoing problem and no one in power seems to be the least interested in doing anything about it?

Simply another technique to hollow out communities making them prime for development.

Perhaps we should do less fundraising for the party and more sitting behind the desk looking into this and passing a little enforcement legislation?

Anonymous said...

Check Howard Beach.

Anonymous said...

How about the legislature changes the law if you don't let the inspectors in after a number of visits,you are presumed to be in violation of the law and then YOU the landlord must prove otherwise, see how simple this can be!