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