New York, NY – Today, the City Council will vote on fines for those who unlawfully convert permanent residential units into illegal hotels. The legislation will set fines at $1,000 to $25,000 for those who illegally convert multiple apartments or receive repeated illegal conversion violations.
The Council will also vote to affirm landmark status for two firehouses in the Bronx and one in Queens.
Illegal Conversion of Residential Units
To protect the availability of rental housing, today’s legislation adds a section to the City’s Administrative Code prohibiting the illegal conversion of permanent residential units. The legislation will classify the illegal conversion of more than one permanent dwelling unit, or a subsequent violation for an illegal conversion at the same dwelling unit or building, as an immediately hazardous violation.
These changes were made possible by State law amendments which maintain that permanent residential buildings cannot be used transiently.
“Time and time again, we hear from residents who have been pushed out of their homes by landlords looking to make a quick buck,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Our legislation will make sure there are immediate and severe consequences for landlords who endanger the safety of residents and tourists and take away affordable housing from New Yorkers in need.”
“I thank the advocates, government and elected officials, and tenants who for years have worked to maintain permanent affordable housing for New Yorkers in residential hotels and SROs. There are several reasons to support Intro 404 and end illegal hotel use in the SROs: 1. Illegal hotels displace working people who rely on SRO units for permanent housing, and owners often evict stabilized tenants and move tourists in to obtain higher revenue; 2. Tourists who are on vacation stay out late and create disturbances, making terrible neighbors for working people who share bathrooms and who have to get up early for work; 3. Illegal hotels also often involve illegal alterations that create a danger for residents and firefighters in case of emergency,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “New York City needs more legitimate, quality, low-cost accommodations for tourists, but we should not meet this need by converting permanent residential units into unsafe dwellings, driving out lawful tenants and rewarding illegal behavior. For all of these reasons, I urge my colleagues to support Intro 404 which empowers the City to crack down on illegal hotel operators and end these abuses.”
Landmark Status for Firehouses
FIREHOUSE, ENGINE COMPANY 305, HOOK & LADDER COMPANY 151
111-02 Queens Boulevard
This firehouse was constructed in 1924 and is a two-and-a-half story, Neo-Medieval style building clad in red brick and enlivened with decorative limestone details. The firehouse, which has experienced remarkably few changes since its construction, continues to serve the Forest Hills community today.
“I am very proud that this firehouse has been designated landmark status,” said Council Member Karen Koslowtiz. “The Firehouse is truly a beautiful and historic building. I hold the highest admiration for the brave service of its members to Forest Hills and the surrounding communities.”
FIREHOUSE, ENGINE COMPANY 83, HOOK & LADDER COMPANY 29
618 East 138th Street
This two-story, Neo-Classical style building was constructed between 1904-05. An early example of the two-vehicular-bay firehouse that predominated in New York City for the next quarter century, this firehouse has continuously served the neighborhood in this building since 1906.
“This firehouse is a beautiful building constructed over a century ago. Its construction marked a time when municipal services were being expanded in neighborhoods throughout the city following the unification of the five boroughs. I am proud to support the land marking of this building to continue to preserve Mott Haven’s history and character,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.
FIREHOUSE, ENGINE COMPANY/SQUAD 41
330 East 150th Street
Bronx, N Y
This firehouse was one of the first constructed in the Bronx after the Consolidation of the City of New York in 1898. This Renaissance Revival style firehouse represents the ideals of the City Beautiful Movement during the early 20th century.
“Firehouse Engine Company/Squad 41 has always felt like a landmark to our community, so it’s appropriate for the Council to approve this official status,” said Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo. “Now, one of the city’s first firehouses will be preserved and its distinct design will remain in the Bronx for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come.”