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Heights: $10G fine for illegal rooming house -- converted into a dozen apartments.
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Heights: $10G fine for illegal rooming house

Jersey Journal - Feb 8

A landlord was fined $10,000 by a Jersey City Municipal Court judge yesterday after pleading guilty to running an illegal rooming house in the Heights, officials said.

Manchester Aquino, 39, was originally issued more than $50,000 in violations at the three-story building on Kennedy Boulevard near Hutton Street. It is listed on the city books as owner-occupied only, but it had been converted into a dozen apartments, said Mark Redfield, assistant director for housing code enforcement.

"For a first-time offender, this is sending a strong message to any landlord who thinks they can convert their one-, two-or three-family home into an illegal rooming house," Redfield said. "It's illegal, it's dangerous, and one day you will be found out."

Last month, firefighters responded to a fire in the building and found numerous tenants living there, Redfield said.

When city inspectors checked out the building they found Aquino was renting 11 separate rooms in the building with an average rent of about $400 per month, plus one large second-floor apartment bringing in $1,400 per month, Redfield said.

Inspectors from numerous city departments issued tens of thousands of dollars in violations, Redfield said, but yesterday Jersey City Housing Court Judge Nesle Rodriguez yesterday fined Aquino $10,000 and threw out the rest of the violations.

She also ordered inspectors to return to the building on March 7 to verify Aquino, a construction contractor, is meeting city codes.

Posted on: 2007/2/8 13:36

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