3-1-1 The harasser's weapon of choice.
Six South Park Slope property owners received no less than 27 complaints over a three day period in February. Remarkably, this is not the first time these neighbors have been tormented by 311 complaints. Back in July of 2009, eleven anonymous complaints were filed against them claiming they all had illegal conversions of some form or another. When these neighbors are not fighting off DOB inspectors they have been dealing with having their automobile's tires slashed, and their properties damaged on a regular ongoing basis. A quick check of other properties on the block show no similar instances of multiple complaints.
Our Tax $$$ at Work.
Building inspectors have a duty to follow up on any and all complaints, and have been making as many as three visits for each complaint, leaving what's known as a LS-4 document taped to the front door of the property when they fail to gain access. The NYCBuildings LS-4 notice is a legal request for the property owner to contact the DOB and arrange a date when the premises can be inspected. Failure to comply with this notice may result in the Department obtaining an access warrant authorizing the inspection of the premises against the home owners will.
If you conservatively estimate that each complaint will take up two hours of an inspector's time, than that's more than a week's salary, our tax dollars, thrown down the toilet... Or worse yet, used in some diabolical plot to annoy and harass hard working families during these tough economic times.
Remember that some of these complaints, for instance the ones dealing with crumbling facades and falling debris (a class A complaint) require an immediate response from the DOB in order to protect the public from possible harm. So instead of monitoring potentially disastrous foundation excavations or high rise crane installations, they're rushing out to check these fraudulent claims of falling bricks on the sidewalk and non-existing air conditioners on Sixteenth Street.
If there ever was a case for the NYC Department of Investigations, this is it.
Blunt force trauma.
The pattern of anonymous calls made to 311 with Department of Buildings related complaints made over three days, as documented on the DoB BIS web site:
Calls made on 2/11/2010
11:22 THE CELLAR OF THIS TWO FAMILY HOME AT THE GIVEN LOCATION HAS CONVERTED INTO AN APT ILLEGALLY PLEASE INSPECT. INSPECTION IS BEST IN THE EVENING
11:26 A FRONT PORCH WAS CREATED WITH OUT APPROVAL FROM DOB ALSO THE IS A WOODEN SHED WAS ERECTED IN THE BACK YARD
11:28 A NEW BOILER WAS INSTALLED IN THE BASEMENT OF THE TWO FAMILY HOME AT THE GIVEN LOCATION HOWEVER NO DOB PERMITS WERE OBTAINED
11:54 ILLEGAL CONVERSION AT LOCATION. BASEMENT CONVERTED INTO AN APARTMENT WITH TENANT LIVING LIVING AT LOCATION
11:56 BELIEVED TO BE ILLEGAL AND DEFECTIVE BOILER AT LOCATION. REQUESTING INSPECTION
12:09 CALLER STATES THAT AT THE ABOVE LOCATION THEY HAVE ILLEGAL CONVERTED THE BASEMENT INTO AN APARTMENT
12:11 BELIEVED TO BE ILLEGAL AND DEFECTIVE BOILER AT LOCATION. REQUESTING INSPECTION
12:14 CALLER STATES THAT THE FACADE ON TOP OF THE BUILDING SEEM TO BE COLLAPSING
12:17 CALLER STATES THAT IN THE REAR OF THE HOUSE THERE IS PORCH THAT WAS INSTALLED WITH OUT A PERMIT
12:30 1 BDRM APT WITH COMPLETE KITCHEN AND BATHROOM WAS CREATED. NO PERMIT POSTED
12:32 NEW BOILER WAS INSULTED A MONTH AGO. NO PERMIT POSTED
12:35 FRONT TOP OF BUILDING THE FACADE IS CHIPPING AWAY AND IS FALLING
13:03 ILLEGAL CONVERSION OF A BASEMENT INTO AN APARTMENT
13.06 UNSAFE STRUCTURE ON THE WALLS BY THE ROOF. VISIBLE AS PER CALLER. (DEBRIS ON THE GROUND). ....ALSO A PORCH IN BACK OF THE HOUSE
13:10 BOILER WAS CHANGED AS PER CALLER W/O A PERMIT NO LICENSE PLUMBER
13:17 ILLEGAL BASEMENT RENTAL ALSO REAR OF PROPERTY EXTENDED AND A PORCH WAS BUILT
13:21 ILLEGAL BOILER INSTALLATION WITHOUT A PERMIT
13:24 CUSTOMER STATES PARAPET ROOF TOP CRACKED AND DEBRIS FALLING ON SIDEWALK ALSO LARGE CRACKED ON FACADE OF BLDG
15:47 THERE ARE 3 AWNINGS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT UP WITHOUT PERMITS POSTED
15:54 THERE 3 AIR CONDITIONERS THAT ARE SUPPORTED BY BOOKS AND PIECES OF WOOD, NONE HAVE BRACKETS SUPPORTING THEM
16:10 CALLER REPORTING AIR CONDITIONERS ON ALL OF WINDOWS AT ABOVE ADDRESS HAVE NOT BEEN INSTALLED PROPERLY. A/CS HAVE NO BRACKETS AND SOME A/CS ARE BRACED ON BOOKS AND BRICKS
16:23 A RESIDENTIAL BUILDING RECENTLY INSTALLED AN AWNING W/O OBTAINING PERMITS
16:29 ON THE 1ST, 2ND & 3RD FLOORS, AIR CONDITIONERS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED IMPROPERLY BY USING BRICKS & WOOD TO SUPPORT & KEEP LEVEL W/ THE WINDOWS. IN DANGER OF FALLING ONTO THE SIDEWALK
Calls made 2/15/2010
13:47 CONSTRUCTION BEING DONE IN THE BSMT W/O PERMITS POSTED
13:48 CONSTRUCTION BEING DONE ON WEEKENDS AND AFTER HRS W/O PERMITS
13:54 CONSTRUCTION ONGOING WITHOUT PERMITS POSTED. ILLEGAL ALTERATION OF BASEMENT TO CREATE RESIDENTIAL UNIT
Call made on 2/16/2010
13:31 CLR STS AT THE LOCATION GIVEN CONSTRUCTION IS BEING DONE IN THE BASEMENT. STS WORK IS BEING DONE DAILY BTWN 7AM TILL 11PM. STS CONSTRUCTION IS BEING DONE ILLEGALLY WITHOUT ANY PERMITS
Many of these complaints have already been cleared by DoB inspectors, determined to be unfounded. Some, like the boiler complaints, will require that the boilers be inspected and notarized, sworn affidavits filed by the property owners or risk additional fines and violations.