Residents of a Flushing home that had been illegally converted into a 15-bedroom boarding house were ordered to vacate the property immediately after inspectors uncovered the setup with the help of a vigilant group of local homeowners.
Flushing firm Success Team Realty recently began marketing the home — which is located at 33-07 153rd St. — as a 15-bedroom, three-bathroom property with an asking price of just over a million dollars. The listing stated that the owner of the home lived in one of the bedrooms on the property and the rest were rented out for a monthly profit of more than $7,000. The listing has since been removed from the office’s website.
Members of civic group the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association were alerted to the illegal conversion last week when members shared the realtor’s online post listing the house up for sale.
The Department of Buildings was flooded with complaints on the property the following week, with three of the five illegal conversion reports referencing the online for-sale listing. State Senator Tony Avella also weighed in by writing a letter the Department of Buildings requesting an inspection of this property and to the secretary of state requesting an investigation of the real estate agent who posted the listing.
The Buildings Department then issued partial vacancy order on Feb. 23 after inspectors found 10 single-room occupancies throughout the home and three illegal single-room occupancies in the cellar. The order was upgraded to a full vacancy order the next day, after a follow-up visit in which the agency determined that a total of 16 single-room occupancies were established in the residence.
Representatives of Success Team Realty said that the house has since been temporarily taken off the market. A man identifying himself as the owner of the home declined to comment, but did admit the home had been ordered vacant due to the illegally rented rooms and that he was working through the situation with a lawyer.
The Buildings Department has numerous recorded complaints under the same owner, Bing Hee Su, concerning additional instances of illegal conversion, some of which date back to 2005. According to the most recent reports on the building, the latest overcrowded batch of residents also were subjected to dangerous electrical conditions, with extension cords in heavy use throughout the house as permanent wiring.
Former residents of the home could be seen transporting their belongings into a waiting van during their hasty exit on Wednesday, just hours after the total vacancy order was served.
Janet McCreesh, immediate past president of the civic group, said that members are encouraged to be vigilant in reporting illegally converted homes.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to sell a house that’s already subdivided because that’ll just encourage the new owner to continue the illegal situation,” McCreesh said.