AND PATRICK ROCCHIO
Another house of horrors was taking shape on Barnes Avenue, but this time the city took quick action with a full vacate order.
On Friday, February 4 the vacate order was issued for all residents living in the two-story, one-family house at 1719 Barnes Avenue after an FDNY inspection lead to a series of violations that were used by officials to request that the property be vacated. All tenants had to leave by Friday, For were relocated.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said, “The city has determined that conditions inside the house are unsafe, with garbage being stored in the basement up to its ceiling, an extension built onto the house without permits, and about $17,000 in uppaid fines for building code violations.”
Agencies including the police department, fire department, Department of Health, Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development all coordinated for a quick and successful effort, Councilman Jimmy Vacca said.
“This kind of action should send a message to absentee landlords who want to make a quick buck in our community that we will not tolerate them turning their backs on the properties they rent out,” Vacca said. “We did this a few years ago on the same block, and at other locations in lower Morris Park, Van Nest, and Zerega.”
The fire department found frozen and leaky pipes and ordered all utilities at the home to be shut down. A violation was issued to repair the plumbing and the department gave a notice for the owner to clean the basement, which was filled with debris, according to a report.
For months, the house has been slowly falling into disrepair and has caused a stir in the community, neighbor Joe Bombace said. The property has already racked up $28,000 worth of violations, according to the DOB.
It has received 13 complaints, dating back to May 2010, for constructing extensions without permits and illegal conversions. Four violations resulted from the complaints, with two, one for enlarging heating and sewer pipes and the other for a roof enlargement, adding up to $16,000, and a third for $12,000, for failing to correct the illegal conditions.
“It shows that we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Bombace said. “Now the house has to be brought up to code.”
It has been sealed, safeguarded, and secured, Bombace said, and the 14 adults he said were living on all floors are out.
“We’re making an example of this house,” Bombace said. “If someone wants to come to this community, we welcome them with open arms if they’re going to live here and do the right thing.”