City Council passes bill targeting landlords who illegally subdivide homes

Anyone caught could face a $15K fine for each illegal unit they build
May 12, 2017 07:00AM

Vincent Gentile (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED, May 12, 12 p.m.: A new bill aimed at curbing illegal home conversions and subdivisions passed City Council this week with unanimous support.

Under Intro 1218, proposed by City Council member Vincent Gentile, landlords who convert property into illegal apartments will be fined $15,000 for every unit that is three above property’s certificate of occupancy. If the fine goes unpaid, it could result in a lien sale on the property, Brklyner reported.

The bill also beefs up the Department of Buildings and the New York City Environmental Control Board’s power to inspect properties and impose penalties. The bill had the support of 23 City Council members, according to Gentile, and passed the Council with a 49-0 vote.

“These strong restrictions and penalties will force egregious property owners to comply with New York City’s building code,” said Gentile. “Substandard housing is not affordable housing.”

Last year, Luckner Lorient, a 78-year-old pastor, was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide following a deadly fire at his property on Flatbush Avenue. Lorient had allegedly turned the top two floors of his property — which had been designed for one-family apartments — into SROs that he rented to 23 people.

In 2014, Vasilios Gerazounis and his son Argyrios Gerazounis were indicted over the deaths of five tenants who perished in a fire at an apartment they had illegally subdivided. [Bklyner]Miriam Hall

Correction: Due to an error in the source article, an earlier version misstated the parameters for the fine. It is every unit that is three above the certificate of occupancy.