Public-housing residents are renting rooms to strangers — making extra dough over the holidays while taxpayers fund their apartments, The New York Post has learned.
Several ads for nightly or monthly sublets were posted on Craigslist
last week, including a $650 room in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay Houses —
which was swooped up in a few days.
“Huge room available immediately in a 3-bedroom apartment for rent,”
the ad says. “Females only . . . no drugs, no smoking, no drama.”
The tenant, who listed a cellphone number and a New York City Housing
Authority address, declared that two people could also share the room
for $350 each.
That’s an extra $7,800 a year in the pocket of someone who is living on the public dime.
Online photos show a barren room with a graffiti-covered, wood-paneled wall and mattress on the floor.
Meanwhile, another Sheepshead Bay tenant posted “$400 public housing room for rent” on Craigslist on Dec. 11.
“If you are looking for a cheap furnished room then here you have
it,” the resident wrote, adding, “[Two] month rent required to move in.
First come first served.”
Under NYCHA rules, only residents authorized by the agency may live
in the apartments. Residents who violate the rules will be given an
administrative hearing or taken to Housing Court.
Last year, Manhattan resident Sherman Gamble was charged with theft
of public funds after impersonating his cousin — an NYCHA tenant who
moved elsewhere — to access and rent out his Baruch Houses apartment,
according to a federal complaint.
More than 160,000 families are on NYCHA’s waiting list, and 55,000
tenants are living in pads larger than they’re entitled to, agency chair
John Rhea has said.
More than 25,000 single residents are living in two-bedroom units — which require at least three people under federal rules.
At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Towers in Harlem, one tenant who lives
alone in a two-bedroom pad posted a Craigslist ad offering a spare room
for $500 a month.
“This is not Trump Plaza,” he told a Post reporter who visited the
apartment. “You don’t have to have 20 applications. You don’t have a
broker’s fee. It’s simple.”
The $500 room has a linoleum floor and closet. Utilities are included.
“You’re not the first one here, and you’re not going to be the last,”
he said. “As soon as you go, I’m going to find somebody else because I
need the finances.”
Meanwhile, other NYCHA residents are turning their government-funded homes into cheap hotels.
Mike Velasquez, 38, who lives in the Alfred E. Smith Houses, has
turned his two-bedroom apartment into a hotel — offering a private room
or sofa for $50 to $100 per night.
“I don’t care,” he told The Post when confronted about the legality
of his rental. “There’s plenty of people who rent rooms — everyone does
“I pay my rent. I can do what I want.”
Velasquez’s 13th-floor apartment overlooks the Manhattan and Brooklyn
bridges and is blocks from the South Street Seaport. Web sites show
that he has been a secret innkeeper since at least 2011.
If he rents out the apartment three days a week, that’s up to $1,200 in extra spending cash a month.