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Squatters rights

“Vigilantes”? Hardly, seems to me.

‘Vigilantes’ try to evict squatters at $1M Queens house after homeowner who confronted them is arrested in tense standoff
A pair of vigilantes allegedly tried to forcefully evict three alleged squatters from a million-dollar Queens home after the homeowner was arrested when she changed the locks and tried to remove them.

Two unidentified men driving a black pickup truck pulled into the driveway of the Flushing home searching for the tenants Tuesday afternoon, according to the Daily Mail.

“We are looking to get this guy out,” one of the men allegedly said, a neighbor told the outlet. “I am here to talk to him. I want to see why he is here.”

Adele Andaloro, 47, was in the process of selling the property when the group shadily took refuge in the home last month.

Andaloro inherited the $1 million property from her parents after they died.

She confronted the trio and changed the locks in hopes they would not be able to re-enter if they left.

However, a male inside the home called the police on Andaloro, who was later arrested.

Neighbors have noticed some concerning activity from the house since the alleged squatters snaked their way into the home.

Residents of tight-knit Queens Street, which many have called home for over 30 years, expressed that they’re ready to do as much as possible to get the alleged intruders out. Some have even floated the idea of starting a petition in hopes that it will help, according to the Daily Mail.

A beloved community member, Andaloro put the two-story home on the market, but that’s when the tenants got in and brazenly replaced the entire front door and locks.

Before her arrest on Feb. 29 — which was captured by ABC’s “Eyewitness News” — Andaloro faced off with the group in a tense standoff.

The police were eventually called and escorted two people off the property. 

With at least three apparent residents still inside, cops told Andaloro she had to sort the saga out in housing court because it was considered a “landlord-tenant issue” before she was arrested.

Utterly, utterly pathetic. Unless and until the nabe gets itself some serious vigilantes willing to adopt measures a bit more forceful than “talking” and petitions, Queens Street will just have to live with their new “neighbors” whether they like it or not.

I lived on the top floor of a five-floor walkup on 13th between 1st and 2nd in Manhattan for a year (ask me how much I love stairs!). In one of the two ground-floor-front apartments was a woman who’d lived there rent-free for over ten years; she had sued the landlord over some piffling dispute or other, and they’d been tangled up in court ever since, resulting in her refusal to pay another dime of rent. She fully expected to continue living there without paying rent indefinitely, and is probably there still.

Artist Joe Coleman lived in the apartment directly under mine; I used to run into him all the time in the stairwells or just sitting out on the front stoop, one of my favorite things to do on my days off work, weather permitting. Old Joe was what used to be politely referred to as “a real character,” had lived in the building for years himself. And Lord, the horror stories he used to tell me about that old building!

I’d never thought much about it until Joe commended it to my attention, but in the quieter watches of the night you’d hear this strange sound as of sand sifting down between and behind the walls—which, according to Joe, is exactly what it was. The plaster was crumbling, the joists and interior timbers eroding, the whole mess slooooowly slip-sliding away into the basement all night and day. There were only three months left on our lease when Joe related this to me; me and the gf decided we would NOT be re-upping.

One night, our power went out during a bad thunderstorm. I grabbed my trusty Maglite and hurried downstairs to see if I could find a breaker to reset or a fuse in need of replacing, wherever the damned box turned out to be; I had no idea about that, all I knew for sure was that there wasn’t one in our apartment. On the ground floor I ran into the building super on his way to the basement, a friendly, avuncular sort who I’d come to know a little, and who seemed quite glad to see me…or my flashlight, more like.

He led me through the basement to the main fuse box, where I replaced three blown fuses with new ones he handed me from his pocket. On our way back out, he pointed out two rows, stacked three high, of plywood cubicles along either side of our path: cramped, stuffy holes containing bedding, items of clothing, miscellaneous unidentifiable bric-a-brac. These cubicles were almost hilariously poorly-built and flimsy-looking, as if they’d been designed and constructed by a little kid using the Fisher-Price Jr Carpentry Set Santy Claus had left under the tree last Christmas.

The odor wafting from this subterranean jungle—stale sweat, dirty linens and/or clothes, unwashed bodies, rotting fruit, human piss—was literally eye-watering.

The super explained to me with a conspiratorial grin what I was looking at: here in this dark, dank 13th St basement were the living quarters for about thirty or forty Chinese illegals, who exchanged a measly rent every Monday for the right to coop a few hours a day in these squalid, nightmarish little rats’ nests, spending the other 18 to 20 hours working in garment-district sweatshops; shared-storage waterfront warehouses or outer-borough factories; Chinatown restaurants, or whatever other sketchy employment an illegal alien could scrounge to bring in coolie wages he could kite to his Honorable Family back home.

I had heard of such arrangements before, of course—what New Yorker hasn’t? Same-same could be found under any number of non-luxury buildings all over the Lower East Side, I knew. Trust me, though, it’s one thing to know intellectually that these things, these people, exist; it’s quite another to see it in front of your very eyes, under your very nose. I was neither naif enough to be shocked, nor jaded enough to just shrug it off and forget about it. In fact, I never have.

Rent control, squatters rights, property owners who are paid more by the city to keep their residential buildings vacant than they could hope to make renting them—NYC’s real estate regulations are a jumbled, incomprehensible maze of payola, corruption, and backscratching that neither tenants, property managers, or owners are at all happy with; that artificially keep rents at insanely-inflated levels; that keep dangerously decrepit buildings in desperate need of repair neglected; and that leave entire city neighborhoods unstable, unprofitable, unaffordable, and unsafe.

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2 thoughts on “Squatters rights

    1. If you’re going to do that, you’d have to make sure the doors are nailed shut, with the squatters inside, and then you collect the fire insurance money and rebuild it at your leisure.

      Or just take the “W” and walk away with cash in pocket.

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