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Queens Is King of Illegal Conversions

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Queens, where a fire in an illegal basement apartment killed three people Saturday, is the illegally converted housing capital of the city. New York City as a whole has more than 100,000 illegal housing units, and 48,000 of those are in Queens. Why? Building codes are poorly enforced and there isn't a lot of other affordable housing, residents said. But violators are hard to catch, according to the Department of Buildings, because landlords sneakily avoid putting up multiple mailboxes or doorbells to signal the presence of illegal units. [NYT]