Nabe to host town hall meeting on illegal conversions

Illegal conversions are about to be in the local limelight

The Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance and the Dyker Heights Civic Association will host a joint town hall meeting on Thursday, February 26, at which both organizations hope to get to the bottom of what local residents and politicians have been calling a Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights epidemic.

“The issue of illegal conversions has been part of the conversation in our neighborhood for many years, but over the past couple of years, this problem has escalated at a pace never seen before,” said State Senator Marty Golden who, on Friday, February 6, introduced new legislation that would up the ante against illegally converted homes. “These illegal conversions are endangering those living in these conditions, our emergency service workers and destroying our quality of life. It is time that we address this problem and take strong action to halt this trend.”

Under Golden’s legislation, the owner of an illegally converted dwelling would be charged with a Class D Felony when a person suffers physical injury in or around the property.

Additionally, the bill would amend the Multiple Dwelling Law to include holding those who violate or assist in violation of an alteration permit accountable, with a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 30 days.

“Our schools are significantly above capacity and these illegal conversions have put a burden on our city resources,” said the senator.

This is the second bill introduced in hopes of targeting illegal conversions in Southwest Brooklyn, following Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s June 2014 push to change the city’s administrative code in order to allow Department of Buildings (DOB) inspectors to access a building based on circumstantial evidence, such as seeing a greater number of mailboxes, trash receptacles or doorbells at the property – a tactic the pol revisited at a recent City Council hearing on the controversial Airbnb program.

Special Enforcement, he told Community Board 10 members at a January meeting, will use circumstantial evidence in charging short-term rental violations, but the city refuses to do the same for illegal conversions.

“If the city is [acting on circumstantial evidence] in one area, why shouldn’t we do so across the board?” he demanded.

The town hall meeting will take place at the Knights of Columbus (1395 86th Street) from 7 to 9 p.m. It will include a Q&A panel discussion with local officials, and is open to the public.

For more information on the hearing or on illegal conversions, visit

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