The risks of illegal apartment conversions attracted attention earlier this year after two fires killed five people, prompting the city to step up enforcement of housing regulations. But some experts wonder if enforcement will make any difference to the number of illegal apartments when the apartments play such a big role in meeting housing demand, City Limits reported.
It will never eliminate the underground housing market because alternative housing options are inadequate, Sarah Watson, a senior policy analyst at Citizens Housing and Planning Council, told City Limits.
“There’s no doubt the path forward is difficult politically, but we need to recognize that there’s a mismatch between the types of housing we have and the ways we’re really living today. The housing stock has not kept up with how people have changed.”
There are estimated to be as many as 100,000 illegal apartments citywide. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is aiming to provide alternative such as home conversions, “micro-units,” and shared housing, City Limits said. [City Limits]