Illegal apartments and a host of major safety violations at two Yeamans Street buildings owned by a state legislator stirred Revere’s Fire and Building Departments into action this week.
State Rep. Steven ‘Stat’ Smith (D-Everett) owns twelve illegal apartments in two buildings 26-28 and 30-32 Yeamans Street in Revere.
The Unofficial Property cards from the City Assessor’s Office lists the properties as having six beds and in baths each of the two buildings.
“He had twelve units–which is incredible,” City Health Agent Nicholas Catinazzo said. “We usually find one or two illegal units in each building.”
The Fire Department was called to the properties last Thursday over a complaint about a smoke detector. Once inside, the responders were surprised with what they found.
An Order of Notice from Fire Inspector Nathaniel Maniff, dated May 17, lists multiple violations, including failure to maintain and install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and emergency exit signs.
The document also notes that the buildings contained illegal apartments and that the owner did not file a Certificate of Fitness.
The order calls for Smith, forthwith, to report to the Fire and Building Departments in order to bring the properties up to code.
“We are cooperating with the Fire Department and Building Department to comply with everything they asked us to do,” Rep. Smith said when called for comment.
Smith would not comment at this time about why the situation was allowed to happen.
Catinazzo said that illegal apartments are one of the city’s biggest problems and detecting such unit relies on tips and information from the community.
After adding extra bathrooms in each unit, Smith was able to add kitchens without seeking permits over the past years, Catinazzo said.
Maniff said that Smith has already begun installing the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as the emergency exit signs.
Maniff also said that a fire alarm system that would service has been ordered for the building as a whole will be installed.
“Hopefully over the next few weeks it’ll be back up to 100 percent to our standards for fire safety,” Maniff said.
Building Inspector Benjamin DeChristoforo could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Beyond that, the next steps involve removing the extra wall partitions and kitchens, thereby bringing the buildings back to the 6-unit apartments as allowed by the city.
When asked what would happen to the families currently living in the illegal apartments, Maniff answered that “[Smith] will have to have them relocated at his own expense.”
Catinazzo agreed, saying that the relocation will be Smith’s responsibility.
And since the illegal apartments have been in place so long, the city did not receive back tax money and fees, Maniff added. “We’re talking about a lot of money.”
“We treat him like we treat everyone else,” Catinazzo said. “Our job is to do our job and do it fairly.”