Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Queens building inspectors sent to Brooklyn

From Brooklyn Daily:

The city is taking steps to put Brooklyn’s illegal home conversion problem on ice, but locals say the battle is just heating up.

The Department of Buildings is sending more inspectors to Brooklyn, and Borough President Adams introduced a multi-pronged bill to fight illegal home conversions, officials announced at a town hall meeting on Feb. 26. But residents who see their neighborhood being crowded and endangered by shady building practices say they’ll only rest when they see results.

The city shifted more building inspectors to Brooklyn last summer to step up enforcement in response to a rise in complaints, an official said.

“The vast majority of illegal conversions were in Queens [before 2009],” said Tim Hogan, a deputy commissioner with the buildings department. “The numbers are changing now, and as recently as July of last year, we transferred some of the Queens unit into Brooklyn. In doing so we have increased fourfold the number of access warrants that we have applied for and received in Brooklyn.”

The borough president and two Brooklyn councilmen are now pushing a law to give those additional inspectors more teeth.

Adams and councilmen Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and Jumaane Wiliams (D–East Flatbush) have introduced legislation to create a new building code violation for illegal subdivisions and a minimum $45,000 fine for landlords who turn a single unit into three or more. It would also relax criteria for obtaining warrants to inspect suspicious properties.

Critics have long panned the city for failing to collect fines form landlords, which currently total $640 million in uncollected cash, Marrone said.

Currently, the main leverage the buildings department has to collect fines for doing work without a permit comes only if a scofflaw landlord eventually comes to the agency to ask for one.

But under the proposed bill, the city could put a lien against homes with unpaid conversion violations, allowing it collect when the property is sold.

The bill also stipulates that the revenue from the fines would be earmarked for a fund to provide three months of housing to tenants booted from subdivided homes by enforcement actions, a spokesman for Adams said.


Anonymous said...

But you don't even do your job in Queens so what makes them think that they will do their jobs in brooklyn? Maybe landlords in bk are offering the inspectors more bribe money than those landlords in queens?

Anonymous said...

Yet another example as to how Queens is falling further behind in the city. They don't even bother to enforce laws here.

Why are our politicians not complaining about this? Because they are busy accepting money from developers and absentee landlords of course.

Unknown said...

Bunch of morons...all you have to do is look at the open houses for sale.

If people were selling 2 family homes for $300-400K, that's fine but asking $500-600 700+K means you need 3 rental incomes to pay the mortgage....pose as a buyer and look around..

Anonymous said...

Its always "take from Queens"

Anonymous said...

These inspectors disappear from Queens & nobody notices. Sure

Anonymous said...

Force the SOBs to do their jobs that they have never done right in Flushing.

Anonymous said...

There are no illegal basement apartments in Queens. Our work is done here - now, onto Brooklyn.

(1. Declare victory 2. Leave)