Real estate agents under fire for illegally advertising single family home in Flushing

By Madina Toure

The city Department of Buildings has launched an investigation after the Broadway Flushing Homeowners’ Association expressed concerns about a real estate company listing that advertised a single-family home in Flushing as a single-room occupancy available to rent.

The listing for the home at 33-07 153rd St., posted by Success Team Realty LLC in Elmhurst, said the property is is a detached one-family home with 20 rooms, 15 of which are bedrooms, and three full bathrooms.

One bedroom, which has a rental price of $700 per month, is occupied by the owner, and the other 14 bedrooms have a rental income of $7,295 per month, according to the listing.

It also states that the front yard can be converted into two parking spots.

The listing was taken down by Monday night. The real estate agents for the listing, Ming Gao and Yan Dan Shi, along with the company, could not be reached at the company’s phone number, which is not working.

Bob Hanophy, president of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, plans to ask elected officials to come up with legislation that would punish a real estate agent who offers a residential home for sale or rent outside of zoning requirements or any other restrictions.

A possible punishment could be to revoke or suspend the agent’s license, Hanophy said.

“The same issue is there: What’s stopping them from listing their next property on another website doing the same improper conduct?” he said.

A spokesman for the state Department of State said it has received complaints about the real estate company but they do not concern the property.

The DOB marshal inspected the property Monday and found illegal single-room occupancies throughout the building, observing 13 single-room occupancies.

Three rooms in the basement were vacated due to immediately hazardous conditions, and seven on the first and second floors were issued violations.

The agency was not able to gain access to three other rooms but said it will attempt to gain access.

Violations were issued for the unsafe use of electrical extension cords, work without a permit in the basement, and illegal alteration and occupancy of the property.

“The Buildings Marshal’s Office will continue to pursue the building owner aggressively to correct the violating conditions at this property,” a DOB spokesman said. “In addition, we are referring for state disciplinary action the real estate agents who posted listings for this property.”

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) wrote letters to DOB Queens Borough Commissioner Derek Lee and state Acting Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.

“There’s some serious issues here,” he said.

The DOB profile for the property says it has a partial vacate order.

Six of the 13 complaints are open, complaining that it is being used as an overnight spot for nearby students or workers. One of the complaints includes a link to the listing.

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) is meeting with the Broadway Flushing Homeowners’ Association next week. He said there are also other factors at play, such as the DOB having a shortage of investigators.

“There’s flaws in a number of different areas,” Kim said. “I think we should find more funding to make sure that we have enough inspectors.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.