Living in Sin: 18 Years at 10 Congress Street with No Certificate of Occupancy

Time to read
4 minutes
Read so far

Living in Sin: 18 Years at 10 Congress Street with No Certificate of Occupancy

October 30, 2009 - 16:55

Building Permit 43600 10 Congress Street Notice of Violation-detail.jpg

The City of New Rochelle Bureau of Buildings on Friday issued a Notice of Violation for Unlawful Occupancy for 10 Congress Street to Mr. Carl Carilli more than 18 years after Carilli first filed for a building permit for the dwelling which he has occupied illegally for years, according to sources familiar with the matter. The Bureau of Buildings has given Carilli until November 9th to file the required documents and obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.

Sources tell Talk of the Sound a Bureau of Buildings official examined the folder for 10 Congress Street as a result of work on a nearby property not owned by Mr. Carilli and discovered the open building permit.

Fines for occupying a dwelling without a Certificate of Occupancy were up to $100 per day in 1991. That amount has been increased to $250 per day today. Based on the 1991 figure, the total amount of potential fines to an amount in excesses of $650,000, although sources say such fines are unlikely since no court order was ever filed against Mr. Carilli. That might changed because the Notice of Violation issued last week for fines up to $250 per day and imprisonment for not more than 15 days or both for each day the violation continues after notification.

Mr. Carilli first filed for a building permit for 10 Congress Street in March, 1991, to construct a two story two family dwelling with outdoor parking for two passenger cars. The permit was approved in October 1991 with a long list of items to be added to the permit. No Certificate of Occupancy was ever issued.

A Certificate of Occupancy is a document issued by the New Rochelle Bureau of Buildings certifying a building's compliance with applicable building codes and other laws, and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for occupancy. It is typically required to obtain a mortgage, homeowners insurance and to show clear title to the property at time of sale. Experts tell Talk of the Sound it is difficult to imagine how Carilli was able to go so long without a Certificate of Occupancy and that he ran a tremendous risk in doing so because insurance companies would likely deny claims in the event of a fire or other damaged to the dwelling.

Mr. Carilli, who runs his business as a licensed plumber out of his home at 10 Congress Street, has built and/or improved several dwellings in New Rochelle and would have every reason to be familiar with the building permit process including the need to close out a permit by obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy. Reached at 10 Congress Street, both his home and place of business, Carilli declined to explain how he came to be living in a home with no Certificate of Occupancy.

A review of the Bureau of Buildings folder for 10 Congress Street reveals a confusing set of documents, including forms filed by Mr. Carilli and the William Widulski, an engineer who has since passed away, that are replete with errors ranging from misidentifying the lot number, to leaving out the street address, to referencing the wrong building permit number. The paper trail ends in 1991 and then picks up again this year when work began on the adjacent property.

Additional Records:

Assessment Card for 10 Congress Street

Property Portal Page for 10 Congress Street

There are 5 Comments

For 18 years Mr. Carilli has avoided a re-evaluation of his property value and thus has eluded the property tax increase he would have had when the final C of O was issued. It is a major problem in the city. Some are simple oversights and others are intentional oversights. It can't be that hard to start pulling all the files for all the property in New Rochelle to see if everything is up to date. Here's a tip. Start with all the employees of the City, appointed positions and elected officials first. You will find hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes due to C of O oversights.

Robert Cox's picture

There is an assessment card, he was being taxed. Since this was new construction at the time, there must have been some assessment done 18 years ago otherwise there would have no been assessment at all.

How does that work?

Are you suggestion that Mr. Carilli may or should owe back taxes in addition to fines and interest on unpaid fines?

I believe that the value of the improvements made to a property are not assessed until AFTER the C of O is obtained. Until the C of O is issued the property is still "supposedly" under repair or construction. Therein lies the benefit of never obtaining the C of O. A review of properties that have outstanding permits will undoubtedly reveal a long list of jobs that are complete or should be complete. If some time is spent reviewing building department records I believe hundreds of thousands of dollars in unassessed property and school taxes will be uncovered. However, we need someone other than the building department staff to do the job. No one likes to disclose their own mistakes. As I stated before, start with city employees, staff, and elected officials property first. And lets make the finding public.

Robert Cox's picture

While that sounds like a great idea, I do not have the time to do the sort of project you suggest. You might think the City would WANT this story of thing done.

Do you think there would be interest to organize a community group to do this work? If we were to divide and conquer, where we get maybe 20 people to take maybe 5 properties a month and do that every month for a year we could cover 1,200 properties.

In either case, I do not know if I would necessarily just start with City officials unless you happen to know that many of the have this issue.

I would prefer to determine a good process for systematically doing this sort of project. I am open to suggestions.

Any building permit has or should have an experation date. Any permit issued which has expired should be visited by the buidling inspector. If the project is finished and no written formal request has been issued for a C of O that would easily trigger a heafty fine in excess of potential taxes due.
This is not rocket science someone is allowing this to continue as a means of favoring a cronie....
All part of the same reason we need to have a higher authority look into Govenment in New Rochelle.