Landlord claims tenants illegally turned three-bedroom apartment into 10 bedrooms

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NEW YORK — Eddie Shiew owns a three-story home in Elmhurst, Queens, as a rental property. He recently rented the third floor, a three-bedroom apartment, to Burak Firik and Dogan Kimilli for $2,500 a month.

But after signing the lease, the landlord says he got a call from one of the tenants on the first floor telling him it appeared that construction was going on in the third floor.

Shiew told PIX11 he went to the building and found that the third floor was in fact being renovated without his knowledge.

“I went in the next day and found they had turned a three-bedroom into a 10-bedroom apartment."

Shiew said it appeared that through the use of sheetrock, a construction crew had divided each bedroom into three small bedrooms.

He says he then discovered that Firik and Kimilli were listing the rooms for rent on, a website for people looking for a cheap place to stay for a short time, usually in someone’s home. And airbnb customers are who PIX11 found living in the apartment. PIX11 spoke with two tourists who were paying $35 dollars a night for a room on the third floor.

When the landlord found out what was going on, he brought some workmen in and tore down all the renovations, changed the locks on the doors, and demanded that Firik and Kimilli leave.

But the two men took the landlord to court.

“They went to court and got a court order against me, “ Shiew said.  “They said I illegally locked them out.”

The judge ordered the landlord to let Firik and Kimilli back into the apartment. While they haven’t done any more renovations, they are creating spaces to rent on airbnb by using curtains as room dividers.

The landlord has hired an attorney and is trying to evict them, claiming the two men violated the terms of the lease. The lease says “except as authorized by the consent of the Landlord, Tenants will not make any repairs or alterations to the premises."

But Firik texted the landlord, “we know the laws very well, you’ll not be able to evict us ever.”

The landlord’s attorney says he expects the court will order Firik and Kimilli out within a couple of months.

PIX11 spoke with Firik by phone, who refused to do an on-camera interview and denied doing renovations to the apartment. He claims he and Kimilli live in the apartment, but the airbnb tenants said they have never met the guys renting the apartment. They say they pay airbnb online.


  • Brisls

    The old thought was a rental is an “income property”, now it’s squatters rights and the damage they do is heart breaking for the owner. These two should be made to pay for all the damage and any “rent” they’ve collected should be given to the true property owner. Sadly these two researched the laws and became bottom feeders.

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  • Kathy Motko

    My son had some bottom feeders in his house. Took months to get them out and another month to make repairs to be able to rent it out again, hopefully to some decent people this time.

  • David

    Burak Firik, huh? That’s a name I know very well. He was the landlord of the building that I used to live in just south of Altantic Ave. in Crown Heights. It was an illegal homeless settlement before his uncle’s slumlord firm bought it out and changed it from one bedroom to five bedrooms. He kicked everyone out of the building so that he could convert it into three bedrooms, since the neighborhood’s gotten good enough so that no one would ever want to live in such a place.

    Even in a neighborhood filled to the brim with disgusting examples of humanity as landlords, he is the lowest of the low. I hope he gets what’s coming to him

  • nak

    Some tenants always think that their rent money is grounds to do whatever they want in someone else’s property. If they want to be big, bad, and in charge, they should purchase their own property. They always holler “tenants rights” yeah you have rights . The right to get the heck out of my building!

    • Popcorn

      Thanks for “just leaving that right there”… even though there’s a link RIGHT IN THE ARTICLE. To debunk your plagiarism allegation: Both stations involved are owned by Tribune Broadcasting. They can do w/e tf they want with their own content.

      • Nolascana

        Their content or not it’s still lazy reporting. It’s copy pasted from the source and original author not credited, else their name would be at the top.

        If I were to claim plagarism I would have white knighted all over this and emailed everyone I thought involved.

        Also if you’re quoting you need to use exact words hon, else it’s putting words in peoples mouths.

        I popped the link in so the original gets the exposure, sure might well be redundant… But this article here is too.

        Have a splendid day now.

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