When Jean Harrow got a ticket in 2016 for unauthorized renovations to her Queens home, she thought it was a misunderstanding. Yes, she had put a powder room in her basement without realizing she needed a permit. But surely, she said, she wasn’t responsible for the washer and dryer a previous owner had installed downstairs — illegally, according to the $1,600 citation. She would simply explain that at her hearing.
As she waited to do just that, Ms. Harrow got a second ticket — for “failure to comply” with the first. In the 14 months after the original citation, she received five others for the same issue: $15,600 in additional fines. Each meant another hearing, and although she never missed a court date, the tickets kept coming.
See it is not so much the initial “violation” It is the complying, or trying to that adds up
Before filing a certification, homeowners must have the condition fixed, which often begins with paying for a permit. But before they can get the permit, they must pay additional civil penalties, incurred alongside the fines for construction issues. Until the civil penalties are paid, owners will receive one fine after another for failing to comply.
“You have to use your mortgage money to pay them; you have to use your light-bill money, your gas money,” said Ms. Harrow, 72, a retired bank clerk. “It’s like they want you to be homeless.”
Go read it all. Damned central planners