Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge have seen a huge increase in the number of illegally converted homes over the past few years. Single or two family homes are gutted and converted into four to five family homes where sometimes upwards of 30 people are living in often unsafe conditions. This is not only a hazard to people living there but to neighbors as well. Illegally converted homes are done without proper permits and building plans are not on file with the city. This can create fire and other hazards that put occupants and neighbors at risk. Furthermore, schools become even more overcrowded and neighborhood infrastructure is strained.
This is a real problem that already has real solutions. We just need to act. I support the following steps that have been laid out in Councilman Gentile's recent bill:
1) Steep fines on bad developers and building contractors.
2) Establishes a procedure for obtaining a warrant to access a suspicious work site and homes.
3) Make sure occupants are not made homeless by the process.
We have to ask ourselves, why is it so hard to make these common sense changes? We must remember that political campaigns are driven by real estate developer money. I do not accept campaign donations from developers because they already have bought too much influence.