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NYC Probe Finds Dozens Of Illegal Apartments

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / 1010 WINS / WCBS 880) — Undercover investigators cracked down on dozens of spaces illegally converted into apartments, with living conditions that can put tenants and firefighters in danger.

The city’s surveillance video paints a stark picture of life in one of the illegal apartments.

One Brooklyn landlord showed the cramped attic quarters – with loose electrical cords, a single small window, and a stove shoved between flammable belongings – to someone he believed to be a potential tenant, but who was actually a Buildings Department inspector.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the undercover operation found dangerous conditions in 54 of the 62 apartments it visited.

“The violations they uncovered were so serious that they posed immediate threats to public safety,” the mayor said.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

The danger of illegal subdivisions hit home in January, when a fire in an illegally subdivided building in Bensonhurst resulted in the deaths of five people.

However, similar violations are often revealed only after a tragedy, so inspectors resorted to the ruse of answering Craigslist advertisements for rentals to gain access to buildings.

Inspectors found violations in buildings across the city. Vacate orders were issued for the illegal subdivisions, but people in Astoria, Queens told CBS 2 that it’s happening in many more buildings than the one raided in that neighborhood.

In fact, it’s the dirty little secret in many communities.

“They put the kitchen and bathroom in there – some of it is legal, some is not legal,” contractor Alex Khan said. “They got problems sometimes.”

The most common violation was having too few ways to escape fire. Many spaces had only one way in and out, which falls short of meeting code requirements.

“Illegal conversions can kill,” the mayor said. “They pose a potentially deadly menace to people across our city, to people who live in them and to the people who live near them, and also to our firefighters who may find themselves dangerously boxed into rooms with no exits when they’ve been battling fires.”

The city said it will continue to vigorously go after violators.

In all, more than 100 violations were issued to landlords, with fines ranging from $6,000 to $25,000.

To resolve the violations, property owners must correct the illegal construction work and submit certificates of correction or sworn affidavits to the city explaining how the problems were fixed.

More from Stan Brooks In Memoriam
Comments

One Comment

  1. Gerry Wayne says:

    They do it for one reason only..

    Because THE RENT IS TOO DAMNED HIGH!!

    on a side note.. did you notice how the media came after that guy.. exposing every little thing.. that’s the BIG MONEY LIEberal MEDIAS way of saying.. “shut up.. sit down.. dont be stupid you moron” and stay in “your place”.. the guy wouldn’t have won.. but he may have pulled some LIEberal DIMoRAT votes away from the other crooks that ran.

  2. Larry says:

    NYC has thousands of illegal apartments, yet Mr. sanctuary city Bloomberg turns a blind eye.

  3. Luxury Dallas apartments says:

    I’m researching on various ways to improve tenant relationship vis a vis management companies. At the moment, a tenant find an apartment for rent and the relationship stops there. I’m curious to know what will happen if the apartment locator is able to develop a profound relationship with the management company which he can relate to the future tenant. Any ideas or suggestions will be appreciated

  4. Joe says:

    I live in an illegal apartment. After having lived in the same building with a lease, I moved down to my current unit under the belief that is legal. Does anybody know of an organization that can help me? I don’t want to wind up kicked out on the street, but don’t have the capital up front to just move out.

  5. INJUN93 says:

    TONY T CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY. HERE IN SOUTHERN QUEENS WE ARE SUFFERING FROM ILLIGAL APTS. RENTED TO PEOPLE FROM SOUTH OF THE US BORDER. BIG PROBLEM HERE! WILL TRADE ANYTIME.

  6. Rubber Band says:

    Dont stop there, i am sure you can find more illegal stuff in NYC also you can see real facts about unemployment http://www.kriegsview.com and its real and not illegal.

  7. A NYer says:

    Wow,almost 9 out of every 10 apartments have violations.
    Where has the NYC bureaucracy, so efficient at collecting parking fines, been all these years!

  8. HRH Bloomberg says:

    Phew, 100 violations. One building down, 700,000 buildings to go!

    1. BLOOMER says:

      AND HOW ABOUT THE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN ILLEGAL RENTS COLLECTED AND CANNOT BE CALIMED ON TAXES – SOME OF THESE PLACE ARE GOING FOR 2,000 A MONTTH – THAT’S 24,000 TAX FREE JUST ON 1 APARTMENT

  9. BS Meter says:

    “More than 100 violations were issued, with penalties ranging from $6,000 to $25,000.”

    Just 100?? why? Wonder if these were delivered to absentee owners that will not easily pay-up — or, the among many 1,000s of Queens residences that cater to recent immigrants from India, Pakistan, China, Korea, Carib, South America, etc. etc. is this comprehensive, or just to certain areas? What about Chinatown, or is that still hands-off politically?

    This by the way, from the same NY area media outlets that never bothering to follow-up, interview residents at the Union, NJ slumlord’s property (because they’re already supporting his lower Manhattan real estate concern under the mantle of “religious freedom”)…

  10. randy says:

    So many people don’t want affordable housing but yet want to pay janitors and other service industry jobs low wages. How far do you expect them to commute for $9.00/hr jobs to do the work that needs to be done whether people like it or not. Why would they when they can work close to where they live for the same wage and have not commute time or costs. Or do you want to be like big business who wants to give every illegal, citizenship so they can have 15 years of cheap labor. Just something to think about

  11. Dee says:

    This is how the Mayors beloved immigrants live….
    this is news?
    We want to read about how the Mayor supports “home rule” and the return of “preferential rents” for ALL, not just Charley who gives a hoot about his constituents Rangel, and yes, Davey Paterson, the 2 biggest bedbugs infesting Harlem apartments…

  12. Rob says:

    Tony T needs to fudge himself. Yeah. Fk u Tony T

  13. rick says:

    so why are they so surprised this has been going on for years so stop trying to make us think you just found out about this the only ones looking stupid are you

  14. Johnny says:

    The city should fine the hell out of landlords that subdivide legal apertments. Not only do these room rentals attract derelicts, but they pose a great safety risk. I’m sorry, but if you cannot afford a real legal apartment, too bad. Of course the city won’t do anything because much like the Arizona immigration law, they’ll be labeled racists.

  15. Kenny says:

    Bloomberg has no clue what its like to be a middle class or lower class New Yorker. This is just another example of how the rich is attempting to gain more revenue out of the middle class so the rich does not need to contribute. You, sir, are a disgrace to New York and to the human race. Don’t give me this bs about safety. This is the last thing on your mind. The main objective is to steal more money from the middle class.

  16. Moe says:

    Yep just like a billionaire liberal run people out of their housing and onto the street. Safe or not what happened to the tenants?

  17. Tony T says:

    If you cant afford to live here move to another city like Moscow

    1. Kenny says:

      Its a bigger problem than that but I guess you are just too dumb to filter through all their BS lies.

    2. DEE says:

      WRONG Tony T, if you can’t afford to pay off your state officials to write tenant laws in favor of landlords, you need to start a revolt..
      Every New Yorker needs to join a tenants organization so we can pull the biggest rent strike in this cities history….

    3. INJUN93 says:

      TONY T CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY. HERE IN SOUTHERN QUEENS WE ARE SUFFERING FROM ILLIGAL APTS. RENTED TO PEOPLE FROM SOUTH OF THE US BORDER. BIG PROBLEM HERE! WILL TRADE ANYTIME

  18. el llaco says:

    Mr Bluntberg is looking for more excuses to get money for the city, he doesn’t care about nobody else, except for himself.

  19. Madam Potchki says:

    The billionaire mayor should fund low and middle income housing out of his own pocket. People live in substandard conditions because they have to, not because they want to. I lived in illegal apartments for about 12 years in NYC. I couldn’t afford to do otherwise.

    1. monika says:

      I AGREE!

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