The Real Deal New York

City Council, City Hall disagree over three-quarter housing fix

Legislature debated five bills to tackle spread of overcrowded housing

October 07, 2016 11:35AM

From left: Commissioner Steven Banks and a three-quarter house in New York

From left: Commissioner Steven Banks and a three-quarter house in New York

City Hall declined to throw its support behind any of five City Council bills intended to tackle the spread of three-quarter housing, but said it would work with the legislature to address the issue.

Three-quarter housing, a term for homes where multiple unrelated people share a room, are typically flophouses for poor New Yorkers who are battling addiction, mental illness or simply trying to escape dangerous shelters. The practice is typically illegal, violating building codes, and can lead to overcrowding.

As a result, three-quarter homes are difficult to track and quantify. According to one estimate, 10,000 New Yorker live in three-quarter houses.

For residents of these houses, they are often preferable to the alternatives of living on the streets or in homeless shelters.

One of the five bills, Intro. 1166, would require the collection of data on three-quarter homes. Another, Intro. 1164, would require that anyone on city rental subsidies would receive a statement assuring them of protections against unlawful eviction. Social Services commissioner Steven Banks said he supports the idea behind the bill, but wants changes.

Following a New York Times investigation earlier this year, Brighton Beach landlord Yury Baumblit was arrested and accused of forcing tenants to go to certain substance abuse treatment providers in order for him to collect Medicaid kickbacks.  [Politico]Konrad Putzier