|(Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)|
Today, City Council unanimously passed a bill to enforce fines on landlords that illegally subdivide homes to create “modern tenement housing”, an issue that has led to severe overcrowding and deaths in southern Brooklyn.
The bill, Intro 1218 proposed by City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, targets landlords of homes classified as “aggravated illegal conversions,” slapping a $15,000 violation per unit beyond the certificate of occupancy. If unpaid, the fine would be subject to a lien sale on the property.
The legislation also expands the authority of the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) and the New York City Environmental Control Board (ECB) to inspect properties and impose penalties.
Gentile, representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Bensonhurst, was joined today by Council Members Barry S. Grodenchik and Jumaane Williams, representatives from Boro President Eric Adams' office, and dozens of civic groups and housing advocates who spent years rallying around this issue. The bill was supported by 23 City Council members, said Gentile on a sunny Wednesday at the steps of City Hall. A few hours later, the bill passed with a 49-0 vote.
“These strong restrictions and penalties will force egregious property owners to comply with New York City’s building code,” said Gentile. “Substandard housing is not affordable housing.”