New Rochelle, NY -- The owner of a single-family home located at 867 Weaver Avenue in New Rochelle is due in New Rochelle City Court on December 10th to explain his turning a single-family North End home into what amounted to an illegal Single-Room Occupancy hotel, long outlawed in New Rochelle.
John Deraffele, the owner, was served with five appearance tickets covering five major violations: (1) building permit required for 2 sheds and deck in rear of property; (2) building permit required for finishing third floor with full bath; (3) use of a one-family dwelling as a three-family dwelling; (4) use of third floor as a dwelling is not permitted; (5) use of second floor as a dwelling is not permitted.
The building inspector report obtained by Talk of the Sound shows the house had been converted into a boarding house with the second floor basically an SRO hotel for five college students.
A floor by floor summary of the building inspector report follows (portions were redacted in original):
Basement -- Fire Department traced tile flue pipe and noticed that tile flue exited tile building through the rear wall of the building but could find no evidence of the pipe at tile exterior of tile building. The flue pipe had been covered with exterior siding; this cover had prevented the products of combustion from exiting tile structure. Further inspection of this home is required to determine if there is occupancy in the basement as some of the basement had doors that were keyed and locked.
1st Floor -- Main entrance facing Weaver Street, one one door with key lock, tenant stated it was entrance to the owners John Deraffele dwelling. Con Edison took readings of the stove in tile first floor apartment and found them to be elevated.
2nd Floor -- Observed 3 doors with key locks. One at the top of stairs which stated was occupied by five college students, which
she stated pay $650 each, and the second door on the left hand side of the common walkway. Interviews revealed the second floor was occupied by at least 4 people. Keyed entry indicating that this floor was set up as a rooming house. All doors leading to
bedrooms on this floor had key locks installed in them. One second floor tenant later stated that he paid $625.00 a month rent. I asked him if all the tenants pooled their money and paid the landlord or if they paid individually and he stated to me that they all paid individually. There was a full kitchen located on the second floor of the home as well. There was a large bubble located in the ceiling of the kitchen on the second floor, and the tile floor of this kitchen was broken. Both are property maintenance issues as the ceiling and the floor were in need of repair.
3rd Floor -- Tenant/mother, daughter paying $1,050 in rent for years; boy friend lives in another apartment on third floor. 3rd Floor - observed a two bedroom dwelling unit with a full kitchen and bath, within the bedroom on the left hand side, observed a walk in closet and within this walk in closet observed a 4' closet with 2 pull open doors and behind these doors, a heating unit was observed. Both rooms located in this apartment also had key locks on the doors. Tenant indicated that she had resided at this apartment for the last 7 years. A boiler had been installed in the attic in a confined space. The boiler had been placed on a piece of sheetrock over a wood floor. Access to the third floor dwelling unit was through a common hallway from the second floor.
While the building inspector was on the scene a man parked in a van (William Alexander of 3251 Mickle Avenue in the Bronx) was identified by a tenant as having done work in the third floor apartment. Tenant stated that there was a dispute with John Deraffele over payment. Deraffele did not want to pay for the work. Tenant stated Alexander was welding pipes in one of her walls.
Alexander was asked if he had a county home improvement license. He said no. He was asked if he possessed a plumbing or electrical license, he said no. He was informed him that to perform home improvement work in Westchester County that home Improvement license is required, and that Plumbing or Electric, all work also requires licenses from Westchester County. Mr. Alexander stated to me that he had worked on the thermostat of the home, replaced t-valves within the home as well and that he held no licenses.
Further review of assessors' card and property card are needed to determine if porches were enclosed legally and to determine if the deck at the rear of the structure is legal. A search of the building card and assessors' record both indicate that this is a single family home. This home is located in an RI-20 Zoning district.