Huge Illegal Conversion Bust Lends Credence To Gentile Proposed Legislation

Following repeated complaints of an illegal conversion, 31 residents (18 adults, 13 children) were left virtually homeless last night after FDNY and Department of Buildings inspectors raided a home on the Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights/Sunset Park border.

The two-family house at 6705 7th Avenue was subdivided into a five-family residence and the inspectors gave the home an immediate vacate order because of a lack of egress (exits), fire safety, compromised plumbing, electrical and gas work; and overcrowding.

The American Red Cross was tasked with relocating the displaced residents to a Days Inn on 39th Street and 4th Avenue for up to 3 days. After the three days, the city is expected to provide emergency housing for them.

The raid comes just days after Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson charged a landlord (last item on Brooklyn Lawmakers on The Move) with manslaughter following a fatal fire at a building he converted into illegal housing, and some two months after Gentile introduced a bill to strictly to curtail the proliferation of illegal conversions throughout Brooklyn, the city, and particularly in Southwestern Brooklyn.

City Councilman Vincent Gentile
City Councilman Vincent Gentile

“We simply cannot afford to continue to put the safety of vulnerable individuals, our neighborhoods, and our communities at risk. My bill, Intro 1218 seeks to put an end to this proliferation. If my bill were law today, the bad actor landlord would be fined $15,000 per each unit beyond the certificate of occupancy and if unpaid, the fine would be subject to a lien sale on the property among additional regulations,” said Gentile.

“We know that this case is likely one of many in my district and citywide. Time is of the essence for this viral developer scheme to be put to an end. My patience is running short as residents, many of who are immigrants, continue to be put in grave danger unbeknownst to them. From there, a negative domino effect ensues, degrading the quality of life for the neighborhood as schools become overcrowded and city services become overwhelmed,” he added.

Gentile said he looks forward to having his Aggravated Illegal Conversions legislation heard by the New York City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings in the near future.


More from Around New York