Illegal apartments listings on Craigslist are continuing despite an undercover investigation launched last year by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). In September 2010 Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference at City Hall to announce the results of the undercover DOB investigation. The investigation was the idea of Juniper Park Civic Association president, Robert Holden.
In April 2010 after reviewing real estate listings on Craigslist.org, an internet classified posting service, Holden contacted Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri about the many illegal apartments being advertised on the site. There were hundreds of basement apartments and other illegal rentals listed.
Additionally it appears that several Maspeth and Middle Village landlords are turning their houses into illegal hotels. Single Room Occupancies (SRO’s) are dangerous and illegal and have resulted in many fire deaths.
Last summer, Department of Building undercover investigators answered advertisements on Craigslist and posed as potential tenants to inspect 62 buildings throughout the city. Illegal conditions were found in 54 of the apartments for rent, including 33 properties where vacate orders were issued because the conditions posed an immediate threat to public safety. As a result, the Department issued 104 violations to property owners who created illegal conditions, including fire safety hazards such as inadequate means of egress and illegal gas, electrical and plumbing work. Monthly rents for these apartments ranged from $750 to $1,200.
“An illegal apartment might save you a few dollars – but it may end up costing you your life,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Some illegal living spaces are clean, spacious and still have only one exit in case of an emergency, which can easily lead to tragic consequences for you and your family. Property owners who create these types of conditions are deceiving tenants and putting their safety at risk, and that’s why it’s so important for New Yorkers to understand the potential dangers. Every tenant should ask questions, conduct research and confirm whether the advertised living space is legal and if construction work was performed with proper permits,” said LiMandri.
However despite the Department of Buildings undercover investigation, the Craigslist postings of illegal apartments continues…“in fact it looks like they have increased,” said Holden.
Holden also discovered recently the postings of “pilot crashpads” on Craigslist. These are illegal dwellings, usually around airports that are filled with bunk beds for pilots and stewardesses. ABC-TV just recently did an investigation on these crashpads:
The pilot crashpads are the dirty little secret of the airline industry who look the other way while underpaid airline pilots look for a cheap place to sleep between flights.
The Juniper Park Civic Association has notified Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner LiMandri of these postings.
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SERVING MIDDLE VILLAGE AND MASPETH SINCE 1938.