By Madina Toure
Residents were seen removing their belongings from a single-family home in Flushing last weekend that real estate agents had advertised as having 15 bedrooms, but the real estate company claims it was not aware of anything illegal occurring on the property.
The city Department of Buildings ordered everyone out of the house at 33-07 153rd St. on Feb. 22 following an investigation that stemmed from community complaints that the house was being used as an overnight spot for nearby students or workers. .
A listing for the home by real estate company Success Team Realty LLC in Flushing, , which was taken down Feb. 22, described the property as a detached one-family home with 20 rooms, 15 of which are bedrooms, and three full bathrooms. It also said the front yard could be converted into two parking spots.
Richard Lam, Success Team Realty’s broker, said the company told the owner, identified in city Finance Department records as Bing Hee Su, that it was not listing the property owner and the owner is currently in Korea.
The company was not aware that the property was being used in an illegal manner until the community complained about it, he said.
“I told the agents that list the property you have to take it off because we don’t want to be involved with these kinds of properties,” Lam said.
The agents, Ming Gao and Yan Dan Shi, declined to comment through Lam.
A spokeswoman for the Finance Department could not be reached for comment.
Bob Hanophy, president of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, said the DOB responded promptly.
“When we made the initial complaint, they sent out people relatively quickly and were able to gain access to the first floor,” Hanophy said.
A Department of State spokesman said the department has an open investigation against Success Team Realty LLC about inappropriate advertising practices but could not comment further.
An All Saints Church van was parked outside the house Saturday and the front door, on which two notices were posted, was open. A few bags and a tea kettle were in front of the home.
At about 3 p.m., a man was seen rolling a cart to the house and standing in front of the home, smoking. At one point, three men were standing in front of the home and talking.
About 30 minutes later, five people were seen moving out and carrying belongings down the steps. One individual was rolling out a mini-fridge.
A neighbor said the house and the adjacent home used to be one property but were split up. In 2000, the owner sold one of the houses to the Korean owner and a Greek family, the second property owner, moved into the other house.
The neighbor said she saw four men arguing outside the home with a man that morning and then people go in and get their belongings.
The people living in the house were quiet, going to work and returning, she said. “It seemed like there were quite a few of them living there,” the neighbor observed.
Another neighbor said the problems seemed to have started when the current owner moved in.
“I think the day before yesterday (Feb. 26), the Chinese TV, they show, they report this story. Then we know, ‘Oh, this house is like this,” she said.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) met with Maria Becce of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association last Friday, while state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) called on the city to ban developers who consistently violate the law from doing construction in the city.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour