How to Tell If You’re Living In an Illegal Apartment

van man How to Tell If Youre Living In an Illegal ApartmentYesterday, the Bloomberg administration announced that a special sting operation–involving Craigslist and hidden cameras–had turned up a slew of illegal apartments in the city. The hope is this new investigative tool might keep landlords from being so damned shady.

But, just in case, the Department of Buildings released a set of 10 tips today to help people identify whether they live in an illegally converted apartment. They include “know the market” and “be aware of the words basement, attic, and flex.” As part of our public duty, the Real Estate Desk has compiled its own list of tips:

  • The landlord requires rent be paid in unmarked, non-sequential $20 bills left in a brown paper bag tossed into a garbage can inside the neighboring needle park.
  • There are stalactites and stalagmites growing from the floor and ceiling. Bats are a red flag.
  • You live in a trailer park inside a warehouse in Bushwick. (TRUE STORY!)
  • One of the flaps of your dumpster is missing.
  • The chickens keep waking you up in the middle of the night.
  • You have to negotiate a roll-down gate and barbed wire to get to your bedroom.
  • The crown of the Statue of Liberty is not a legal residence, though Lady Liberty’s torch might be.
  • This guy is your roommate:

Had your own brush with an illegal apartment? Share horror stories in the comments.

mchaban [at] observer.com / @mc_nyo