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Liam McCabe Responses to Town Hall Questions

These are questions that were received from the community at the Town Hall Meeting / Candidate Forum earlier this week, but due to time constraints, we were not able to ask them. We emailed each of the candidates a copy of the questions and will post their responses as soon as they become available.

Below are the responses by Liam McCabe.

Note: some questions and answers have been edited for clarity (formatting, spelling, etc.)

I would like the 5 cent deposit stopped. I do not want collectors trespassing on my property all hours of the day & night.  They go in our yard & rummage through everything.  The deposit should belong to the city when put by the curb. – Louis P.

Even if you end the deposit in New York State, since other states still have it the practice of collecting and taking them over state lines will continue. Other ways to help include reforming our trash pickup system so garbage isn’t on the street for as long a period of time. Ultimately, we need to give can collectors other opportunities, like the option to participate in my proposed Beautification Program that pays individuals to clean up and beautify our streets.


If new law that Mr. Brannon wrote w/Gentile, already needs to be fixed & improved, why isn’t he working on it now as a Gentile employee? Why must we wait until Nov. for him to add his suggestions & improvements?  Tell me why did Justine say he wouldn’t allow high rise building-he currently does, and hasn’t prevented them in zoning. – Kerri M.

Justin Brannon will have to answer for his own actions.  I do believe we need fresh faces in government, particularly people who have the conviction to stand up to the mayor.


Why can’t we pass some kind of legislation to enforce those selling one family homes to put in selling contract,  house needs to remain as one-family or subject to substantial penalty? – Carol D.

The issue at hand is not about the real estate contract but about zoning and the Department of Housing and Buildings.  Depending on how a home is zoned, it must be used as that zoning dictates.  We have zoning laws on the books.  The problem is the enforcement of those laws.  

This is an enforcement issue and I will be hands on in bringing the city, federal and state agencies together to ensure the enforcement that we need to address and resolve this problem at every level.


As a licensed contractor, when homes are gutted and/or renovated by licensed contractors,  according to NYC DOB & ECB regulations, they need to pass all inspections to NYC code, once people move into the property and when they “illegally” convert.  How do we prove it unless we knock on doors that aren’t answered? – Deanna H.

The issue here has to do with the process of reconstructing houses that create SROs in our neighborhoods that violate New York City housing and zoning laws.  The most effective thing we have done so far is to get stop work orders during the construction process.  That needs to continue.

In cases where people are living in illegal home conversions, we need vacate orders to be issued by the Fire Department because the conditions are too dangerous to allow people to live there.


The real estate industry through lobbying and political contributions have enjoyed access and power under the present administration.  At the same time, the market has choked buyers and led to a dearth of affordable housing and a rise in homelessness.  How can this tide of greed be turned around? – Michelle S.

We need to make sure that our politicians are held accountable for zoning decisions.  There are some cases where we can work with the real estate industry in ways to help the community, but we need to audit on a case by case basis, especially in cases of high rise developments that include a small number of “affordable housing” units that are subject to abuse as tax rebates for developers rather than real housing solutions for people who live in the neighborhood.


It seems that going after an individual or developer once the illegal conversion is underway is like closing the barn door after the horse has run out.  The way to stop these, is before the sale of the property.  Make real estates, banks & layers & sellers adhere to their duties as officers of the country & have them do their due diligence in sales & especially when a house sells for way less or more than market value. – Anthony T.

It is important to crack down on the money laundering and tax evasion aspect of this problem at every stage of the buy/sell/conversion process.


1) DOB should not be allowed to close out a case after 2 failed attempts because of lack of staffing-that (is) fudging the numbers. 2) Utility, gas, electric, water companies should recognize increased usage. 3) Garbage is being placed on corner receptacles rather than in front (of) their house. 4) Bulk pickup’s are few & far between.  Sometimes 1/1/2 weeks pass before they pick up. 5) Repeal the bottle law & stop trespassing. Law in effect long enough that people will continue to recycle if it’s stopped.

  1. It will be more efficient for the Department of Buildings to have more attorneys working on this to get warrants that give them access to illegal conversion sites.
  2. Utility usage should be a useful indicator in spotting illegal home conversions.
  3. This speaks to one of the many ways that illegal home conversions compromise the public health of the city and overburden our resources.  It also shows that once people break one law and get away with it, they will break more.
  4. We should get rid of the organic waste collection in its current form because of the reduced truck capacity that it creates.
  5. We are already a mandatory recycling area and the bottle law is out of date.  Trespassing is against the law and those laws should be enforced.


How will the city enforce the new law that Gentile crafted & De Blasio signed? Past laws have been flouted.  Can we expect you to be more active in addressing this issue? – Jeanine B.

There are a variety of things they should be doing including hiring new inspectors, reviewing meters, getting warrants.  There needs to be an overhaul of the enforcement.  This is one of the reasons I recommend an inter-agency task force to crack down on illegal home conversions and enforce all applicable laws, including those having to do with tax evasion.



I learned that a conversion was vacated due to a gas line issue.  This was not on the DOB site of info about the property.  How do we know we are safe? – Jennifer S.

We’re not safe.  We need to crack down on illegal conversions, and the Fire Department needs to be involved for precisely this reason.


Trying to sell my mom’s house for almost a year.  Can’t attract Non-Illegal Conversions buyers on 74th and 11 Avenue.  What do I do?  Our neighborhood is no longer desirable. – Carol D.

We have a great neighborhood and I want to keep it stable and vibrant for the future.


I have an SRO next door.  They have even rented the garage (shared driveway)  to a construction person.  There are bars on the windows & stairway in back is completely blocked–used for storage.Why is nothing done?  In the event of a fire innocent fire fighters can get hurt. – Terry H.

Bringing this to the attention of Brooklyn Housing Preservation Authority is a great start.  In cases like this, we also need to report to the Fire Marshal immediately. This is another instance of the ways in which illegal home conversions create public safety issues and threats to our first responders.


The illegal conversions are causing, overcrowding in our schools, too much garbage, lack of parking spaces, and a health hazard- are these people received all immunization shots? –  C.B. M.

You are bringing up many issues that arise from illegal home conversions that overtax our city resources. This is part of why illegal home conversions are a key issue for me.  I am here to work on preserving our community and keeping it safe and healthy by stopping illegal home conversions.


4 houses on my block. 4 sets of complaints, SRO, 7 kitchen vents in a 3 family, mattresses picked up and delivered at night. People coming and going in middle of night. DOB tries 3 times to enter buildings denied. All 4 complaints are marked closed. – Mildred L.

I would like to change the system so that we can have more immediate enforcement and get warrants issued in appropriate cases.

This is an all too common problem that we are dealing with.  Once I am elected, resolving it is a top priority.

I would like to work on an inter-agency task force so the Department of Buildings can refer to the FDNY and other organizations and so that we can have a multi-agency approach to stopping illegal home conversions.  There are multiple sources of illegal activity involved in the construction and use of an illegally converted home, and we need enforcement on every level.


Isn’t Con Edison breaking the law by installing electrical meters in Illegal Home Conversion? – Cathy S.

They are not breaking the law but ConEd should be disclosing the number of electric meters to the Department of Buildings.  There should be easy access to data that community groups and other agencies can use to proactively track down illegal home conversions by monitoring signs like the number of meters on a house.


The house I’m attached to has at least 20 people & many kids living in a 3 family house.  They are in the illegal basement.  They are making our property taxes go sky high.  They are constantly throwing away mattresses filled with bed bugs. – Vivian P.

We are having a problem with bulk pickup because of an organics collection system that needs to be overhauled.  If you have evidence of these conditions we need to make sure the FDNY knows about it immediately.


1) We must have a special task force in Bensonhurst to target people carrying huge bags of cans which they stole out of private recycle bins. 2) We must also put an end to these dangerous delivery rider who operate with total disregard for safety and the rules of the road. 3) They drive on sidewalks, they drive at dangerously excessive speeds.  They drive the wrong way down one way streets. The list goes on and on… – Angelo A.

I have outlined my solutions to the can collecting problem and I am committed to implementing them, they range from enforcement to alternative income sources for can collectors. 2. and 3 – One issue has to do with illegal electric bikes, another has to do with making sure that restaurant owners comply with rules. City Council seems to be very pro-bicycle but if we are expanding the role of bikes in our communities, we need to expand enforcement of bike laws to go along with it.


Recently the City has increased the number of vacate orders in our community, when a full or partial vacate order is issued by the DOB. What will you do with the people that are forced out of the buildings? Who should pay for the relocation of the tenants? The city’s tax payer? The landlord? The tenant? Some private entity? -BHPA

Revenue from the fines should be used in a fund to help relocate victims of illegal home conversion.  People should be able to find better types of housing, they not to be routed into the already overburdened homeless shelter system. Enforce all trespassing laws currently on the books.


Based upon first hand observations, as well as anecdotal evidence from neighbors, there appears to be a correlation between the increase in the number of can/meta/recyclables collectors and the increase in the number of illegal home conversions in our neighborhood. How would you stop people from not only rummaging through people’s trash but also trespassing onto private property to steal cans, scrap metal, etc? – BHPA

There is a greater number of low income people in neighborhood, in part because of the construction of illegal SROs, some issues that come with this are an influx of can collecting.  We need to address these issues by helping people and by offering alternatives, as well as by enforcing trespassing and other existing laws.

Town Hall & Candidate Forum – September 6, 2017



Wednesday, Sept 6th, 2017    7pm – 9pm @ The Knights of Columbus
1305 86th Street, Brooklyn, 11228 – MAP


Mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio, Nicole Malliotakis & Sal F. Albanese, and all 43rd District Council Candidates.

A list of candidates attending will be announced on our website prior to the event.


The Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance & Dyker Heights Civic Association


While questions will be prepared by the sponsoring organizations, some questions will be chosen in advance from the audience. If you would like to ask a question, please prepare it beforehand and submit it to us before the event. You may also email your question to us by sending it to Please include your Name, Phone Number, and your Question.


PLEASE NOTE: Seating and parking will be limited – please arrive early to get a seat.

Share the event with your friends on Facebook:

Thank you for attending the BHPA Summer Fundraiser

The results of our August 6th Summer Fundraiser are in, and it was a huge success! Thank you to everyone that joined us at Indigo Murphy’s on Saturday night (and there were too many to individually name).  To those that could not attend but made donations via our Paypal account,your donations enabled our organization to raise over $2,000. Together, we’re showing the city that we’re not going to sit back and watch illegal home conversions harm the people who live in them and destroy the communities that we’ve worked so hard to build and maintain.

We would like to thank some of our local businesses and civic organizations who were kind enough to donate food and prizes. We believe that local businesses are critical to our community and we encourage you to support them!

75th Street Auto Center

316 Bay Ridge Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Car trouble? Tommy will diagnose and fix it in short order and at a competitive price. Expect friendly, professional, attentive service.

Dyker Heights Civic Association

Fiacco’s Pork Store

6511 11th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219
A venerable Italian deli known for its housemade sausages, cheeses & sandwiches crafted to order.

Halo Salon NYC

550 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11209 
A full-service salon offering hair services, makeup, facial threading, and more.

Johnny’s Pizzeria

5806 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
A small, family-run pizza place selling counter-serve slices, pies, pasta & hero sandwiches since 1968.

La Bella Marketplace

7907 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228
A full-service grocer stocking homemade sausages, imported cheeses & many Italian specialty foods.

M&L Vision

7420 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228
(718) 748-7061

Mike’s Paint

6411 11th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219
Mike’s Paint has been serving the Brooklyn area for the past 65 years for all of it’s painting and redecorating needs.

Ocean Horizons

886 71st St, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Scuba instruction from beginner to instructor in the New York Metropolitan area.

Pollina Pharmacy

7605 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228
A great neighborhood pharmacy with all the daily essentials, plus some extras.

Sal’s Hair Stylists (Unisex Salon)

7601 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228
A neighborhood unisex salon that’s been in Dyker Heights for over 20 years and grown with the community.

South Brooklyn Home Services

(347) 762 3720
South Brooklyn Home Services helps residents of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge with a wide range of every day tasks including household cleanings, deliveries, general maintenance, and more.


9206 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Established in 1988, StreetSounds is located in Brooklyn and has one of the largest inventories of Gretsch guitars anywhere in the world.


We would also like to thank our elected officials or their representatives that were able to attend:


Councilman Vincent Gentile
Councilman Mark Treyger
Andrew Gournardes for Borough President Eric Adams
Serena MacLellan for State Senator Martin Golden
Alexandra Larkin for State Assemblywoman Pamela Harris
Nick Chambra for State Assemblywoman Nicloe Malliotakis
Fran Vella-Marrone for Congressman Dan Donovan

And a very special thank you to Indigo Murphy’s for letting us host this event!

Indigo Murphy’s

7102 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Pub grub & beer served in a down-to-earth sports bar with flat-screen TVs & live music.

We are committed to protecting homes from illegal conversions through community education and political action. Your support helps us continue our mission of informing communities about the hazards of illegal conversions, how to recognize a potential illegal conversion and how to go about reporting it.

Please visit our website to stay connected with us or to contact us if you have feedback and/or concerns.

Thank you for helping to make a difference with your contribution to the Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance!

PIX 11 News – City councilman calls for crackdown of illegal conversion housing

July 2016 Newsletter

We hope you’re all having a great summer! We’re still hard at work fighting illegal conversions in Brooklyn and wanted to share some recent news and upcoming events with you. This is from our recently distributed July 2016 Summer Newsletter.


Aggravated Illegal Conversions Bill

On June 21, 2016, New York City Council Members Vincent J. Gentile, Jumaane D. Williams, and Barry S. Grodenchik introduced the Aggravated Illegal Conversions Bill (Introduction #1218). This new bill would impose high penalties on bad actor landlords and equip the Department of Buildings with the ability to gain entry into suspected illegal conversion sites to issue violations as necessary.

Details about the bill

Aggravated Illegal Conversions – Introduction #1218 Text

Task Force Statistics

Last year, The Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance and the Dyker Heights Civic Association, in conjunction with our local elected officials and the Department of Buildings, formed an Agency Task Force with the focus of combating the proliferation of Illegal Home Conversions in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. Our efforts over the past year have resulted in increasing success in our fight against these illegal conversions:

  • Of the 448 illegal home conversions reported in Community Board 10 during 2015, the DOB was able to access 246 homes, a 25% increase since 2014
  • Where the DOB got access, 35.6% were issued code violations; an increase from 19.7% in 2014
  • ­153 Stop Work Orders were issued in 2015, a 121% increase over 2014
  • 815 Environmental Control Board violations were issued, representing an increase of 59% over 2014
  • ­ Since 2014, there has been a 300% increase in Vacate Orders

The vast increase in violations­ issued during 2015 was due to the fact that the DOB received a far greater number of credible complaints from the community than in 2014. As a community, we’ve proved that we can make a real, tangible difference. If you see a possible illegal conversion, don’t hesitate to call 311 and make a complaint!


We have a lot of upcoming events and hope that you can join us for some (if not all) of them!

Summer Strolls in Bay Ridge

We’ll have a booth set up at all of the Summer Strolls in Bay Ridge. Stop by and say hello! We’ll be talking to residents and have plenty of literature to distribute. We can answer your questions and collect information about any suspected or known illegal conversions as well. Bring some of your neighbors who may not be familiar with our cause and have them sign our petition! See below for details on where we’ll be located:

August 5 (Friday)
– Bay Ridge Ave to 80th Street on 3rd Ave – BHPA between 7802 – 7804 3rd Ave

August 12 (Friday)
– 80th Street to 90th Street on 3rd Ave – BHPA in front of 8601 – 3rd Ave

Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance Fundraiser

When: Saturday, August 6, 2016, 6pm to 10pm
Where: Indigo Murphy’s, 7102 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Tickets: $20 at the door

Please join us for food, drinks, live entertainment and prizes! Get to meet your neighbors, show your support, and have a great time at our upcoming fundraising event. There will be a light buffet available and attendees will receive one free drink and one free raffle ticket. A share of the proceeds will benefit the Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance to continue our work. Help us stop illegal conversions in Brooklyn AND have fun doing it!

View the details here on our website or on our Facebook event page

Special Permit Appeal Hearing

When: Thursday, July 28th at 6:00 PM
Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Community Board 10’s application to repeal the Special Permit is up for review by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The Special Permit provides provisions for homeowners to expand their homes but adds incentive for developers and investors to illegally convert homes. A public hearing is scheduled for Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday, July 28th at 6:00 PM. We encourage you to attend this hearing as we are hoping to gain the support of the Borough President to repeal the Special Permit Section 73-622 in Community District 10. If the Special Permit isn’t repealed, we will only be encouraging real estate developers to illegally convert properties into SROs.

Learn more about the Special Permit here

Southern Brooklyn Town Hall

When: Thursday, August 4th at 6:30 PM
Where: New York Aquarium, Surf Ave and West 8th St – Education Hall, Brooklyn NY, 11224

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, in partnership with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, State Senator Diane Savnio, Assembly Member Pamela Harris, and Council Members Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger, will be holding a Town Hall in South Brooklyn at the New York Aquarium. This is an open forum that will allow us to voice our concerns to the city regarding illegal conversions in Brooklyn. We encourage as many people as possible to attend.

View the event details on here our website

Enjoy your summer! We’ll be in touch and hope to hear from you soon!


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