New York City condo owner Xue Ping Ni reportedly had split his 634-square-foot Manhattan condo in half horizontally to rent out nine micro units
Ni was busted for converting one apt into NINE illegal micro units by cutting it in half horizontally – with ceilings as low as 4 1/2 feet – and renting them out for $600 a month
The units were raided and shut down Wednesday by the city’s Department of Buildings and tenants were forced to evacuate
Ni was fined more than $144,000 for failing to have sprinklers, proper electrical, structural and plumbing permits
Another landlord in the same Lower East Side building was also discovered to be running the same scheme by creating multiple units
The condo owner charged tenants up to $600 a month for the illegal spaces, some with ceilings as low as 41/2 feet
A city building inspector is seen at 165 Henry Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side where a landlord illegally split his apartment into nine micro units to rent to 11 people
A New York City condominium owner has been arrested for converting his one apartment unit into nine separate units to rent out for as much as $600 a month.
Landlord Xue Ping Ni had split his 634-square-foot condo in half horizontally, creating a new floor between the fourth and fifth, to rent out to 11 tenants on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that had ceilings as low as 4 1/2 feet.
The units at 165 Henry Street were raided and shut down Wednesday by the city’s Department of Buildings and Ni was fined more than $144,000 for failing to have sprinklers and proper electrical, structural and plumbing permits.
In one photo, a city inspector is seen on his knees in order to enter the micro unit.
Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos said it was a scene that resembled the 1999 indie film Being John Malkovich, which depicted a 7th 1/2 floor in a Manhattan office.
An inspectors go through the NYC condo after the owner Xue Ping Ni had split his 634sq-ft Manhattan unit in half horizontally to rent out nine micro units
Air conditioning units could be seen set up on both the top and bottom of floor-to-ceiling windows of the illegal tenament
‘This is like the room out of the movie Being John Malkovich,’ Kallos said. ‘It was funny in fiction, but a horror story in real life.’
Condo owner Ni had placed bubble wrap in the units to prevent tenants from hitting their heads on pipes.
Inspectors said there was also an illegal bathroom in the unit.
A second apartment in the same building was also busted for having a similar setup.
Unit 701, which Ni has listed in the past as his address but is now owned by Jing Ya Lin, was being rented to 11 tenants.
From the street, air conditioning units could be seen set up on both the top and bottom of windows meant for one unit.
‘I’ve never seen air conditioners stacked atop one another like that – five air conditioners in three windows,’ Kallos said..
‘I can’t imagine needing that much air-conditioning in one apartment, so if someone sees this on the street, that should be more than sufficient for the Department of Buildings to also investigate that apartment.’
Lin was issued 10 violations by the Department of Buildings.
And on Friday, several tenants were seen leaving the building with suitcases as the units were being evacuated.
The tenants were offered immediate relocation assistance by the American Red Cross.
‘Every New Yorker deserves a safe and legal place to live, which is why we’re committed to routing out dangerous firetraps and ordering the landlords to make these apartments safe,’ the NYC Buildings Department said in a statement.
‘Tenants living in truncated and windowless dwelling units like this poses an extreme hazard to their safety, as well as the safety of their neighbors, and first responders – a hazard that cannot be tolerated in our city.’