On April 4th, a member of the Juniper Park Civic Association observed an online real estate advertisement for the newly constructed "Maspeth Mews" development at 60-51 Flushing Ave. on the "Queens Crap" website. The ad blatantly encourages potential buyers to convert the garage and basement into an illegal apartment.
The full listing can be found here: Foxtons – Maspeth Mews. It was changed on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
"The fact that a realtor can openly encourage an illegal conversion in an ad tells you just how widespread the problem is in this neighborhood," said JPCA president Robert Holden. "Buyers are led to believe they can easily get away with this sort of thing. Illegal apartments are dangerous for the occupants and a nuisance to the community. This is a problem we all need to stand up against."
Illegal apartments violate the zoning laws. Such conversions lead to overpopulation of the area and are a strain on local resources and infrastructure. They are often in basements, which lack adequate fire exits. Since they don't officially exist, they are a potential haven for terrorists and other criminals. The owners of such units get away with not paying taxes on income generated from illegal rental of their property.
The ad, found through Foxton's search engine, was written by NJN Realty Corp. The JPCA has reported NJN to the New York Secretary of State. As of the time of this release, the ad had not been changed.
The JPCA encourages people to report any other such illicit advertising to the New York Secretary of State and to report any illegal construction practices to 311 and ask for the Department of Buildings.