City’s basement apartment crackdown ramps up

Violations for illegal unit conversions rose 10% in 2019

New York /
Feb.February 04, 2020 11:15 AM
(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)

An estimated 114,000 people live in basement apartments in New York City, many of whom risk being relocated if the Department of Building finds their living situation to be illegal. According to city records, those cases are on the rise.

The DOB issued 5,151 violations to landlords for illegal apartment conversions last year, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens, the City news site reported. That’s a 10 percent increase from the 4,665 violations issued in 2018. Some violations require that the landlord shut down the illegal apartment immediately or face a fine of $1,000 per day.

“Lots and lots of people have basement renters,” Michelle Neugebauer of Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. told the publication, noting that enforcement could complicate counting of residents in a census year.

“They have been hit by so many inspectors and enforcers from the Department of Buildings over the years, that they’re very leery to admit that they have a current renter.”

Neugebauer’s organization is working on a pilot program with the city with the goal of bringing certain basement apartments up to code. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio budgeted $5.7 million in funding for a program to bring basement apartments in East New York up to code while keeping their rents below market rate.

The pilot program, if successful, could lead to 5,000 more apartments citywide counted toward the mayor’s affordable housing goals.

In 2013, a study from the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer found that altering the rules surrounding accessory dwelling units could add tens of thousands of affordable units to the city’s legal housing stock and would spur economic growth.

Others, such as CBRE CEO Mary Ann Tighe, have suggested that because such illegal housing is already largely occupied, the impact on the city’s housing stock would be limited — and that rezoning manufacturing districts for residential use would be more effective. [The City] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)
Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
60 Norfolk Street with Gotham Organization Chairman Joel Picket and CEO David Picket (Gotham/Dattner Architects)
Gotham Org lands more loans for Lower East Side development
Gotham Org lands more loans for Lower East Side development
Madison Realty principal Josh Zegen, Raphael Toledano with the properties at 325-329 East 12th Street and 223-235 East 5th Street (Madison Realty, Google Maps, Toledano by Michael McWeeney)
Madison Realty Capital closes on Toledano’s bankrupt East Village portfolio
Madison Realty Capital closes on Toledano’s bankrupt East Village portfolio
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)
City expands free legal services for tenants, fearing eviction rush
City expands free legal services for tenants, fearing eviction rush
626 Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 23-14 96th Street in East Elmhurst (Google Maps)
Two landlords hit with big fines for SROs, resi additions
Two landlords hit with big fines for SROs, resi additions
(iStock)
Landlords seek up to 5% rent hike on stabilized apartments
Landlords seek up to 5% rent hike on stabilized apartments
Andrew Yang (Getty)
Does Andrew Yang’s housing plan make sense?
Does Andrew Yang’s housing plan make sense?
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...