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Town Toughens Code to Combat Illegal Rentals

On Tuesday July 15, proposed changes to Town Code were approved by the Town Board. These changes are yet another step in the right Town of Brookhaven Sealdirection as the Town continues to work with Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners to battle the pervasive, illegal rentals surrounding Stony Brook University.

All of the proposed changes support the below legislative intent.

Section 1. Legislative Intent. This local law would improve the ability of the Town to better pursue the legislative intent in Town Code Section

82-1 which is to preserve the aesthetic integrity of our residential neighborhoods, prevent neighborhood blight, protect residential property values, encourage residential property maintenance and enhance the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods and would add language reflecting that the inspections required by the rental permit process do not negate the authority to inspect from another section of law or court order.

These proposed changes all provide additional clarity to the existing code and will assist in the TOB’s ability to enforce housing violations and securing convictions for violations of the code.

J. Dwellings structures and accessory structures shall be free of partitions or locked internal doors barring access between segregated portions of the building or dwelling unit. This proposed addition specifically prohibits a homeowner, landlord or tenant from trying to create a separate or segregated living space or additional apartment within a home. TOB investigators have observed this in many homes where a landlord or other entity is trying to maximize individual living space for multiple unrelated tenants in violation of Town Code. In addition this is a clear safety hazard to tenants, first responders or other individuals who may be trapped in the event of an emergency.

K. No bedroom or sleeping quarters shall have interior key locks or dead bolt locked doors servicing said bedroom or sleeping quarters. This is also a fire hazard and a danger to the occupants in the event of an emergency.

L. No bedroom shall constitute the only means of access of other bedroom or habitable spaces and shall not serve as the only means of egress from other habitable spaces. This proposed addition supports the prohibition on rooming houses and provides additional specific examples as seen by TOB Investigators as problematic. See above re: emergency safety.

M. Carbon monoxide alarms and detectors shall be installed on every habitable floor of any dwelling, structure, or accessory structure with a carbon monoxide source, in accordance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and Town Code Chapters 16 and 30.

D. Conflict with other chapters or law. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to negate the authority for inspections pursuant to any other section of law or Court ordered inspection. This proposed addition provides clarification the current law and additional access to homes that have violated the Town Code in the past and are subject to a conditional discharge (CD). This provision confirms that an inspection pursuant to a CD does not take the place of any other inspections for other purposes. As such, it is an additional inspection that can occur independent of any other inspections required by Town Code. This adds an additional layer of inspections to any existing inspection provisions.

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