Squatters have returned to New York City.
One, Peter Zephyrin, considers himself a modern-day Robin Hood for taking over an unfinished and boarded-up complex on Jamaica Avenue in Queens.
Zephyrin, 36, installed electricity and a water heater at the 10 adjoined three-story buildings and is collecting rent from two sets of tenants, who moved into the three-bedroom, two-bath pads in December. He charges $250 a week per resident.
“Imagine you woke up one day and found out the US government gave you license to use your brain and do something unorthodox,” Zephyrin told The Post. “I’m taking what the lazy wealthy person left behind . . . I’m trying to help families out.”
Zephyrin is trying to seize the buildings through “adverse possession” statutes, which permit an enterprising homesteader to acquire abandoned property after occupying it for 10 years, so long as the ownership is not contested.
They heat the apartment by boiling water on a hot plate. There is no gas, refrigerator or working stove.
Tenants don’t pay for electricity or other utilities — and don’t know who does. A Zara manager, who visited the site Wednesday, told The Post that Zephyrin “jumped wires” to get electricity.
Zephyrin was living at the Jamaica Avenue development himself until Jan. 23, when police arrested him and charged him with trespassing and scheming to defraud, court records show.