Southampton Town Code Enforcement officers have discovered violations at 14 properties in Hampton Bays after conducting a month-long investigation.
The newly organized Housing Investigations Unit of Southampton Town Code Enforcement directed the home inspections, which concentrated on the North Road area of Hampton Bays.
As a result of the investigation, code enforcement officers issued 54 violation notices to the property owners. Most of these notices comprised multiple violations, ranging from a lack of valid permits, to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions or violations of occupancy laws.
Southampton Town occupancy code states that four or more people cannot live together in a single dwelling unless they constitute the ‘functional equivalent of a traditional family’—that is, if they are related through blood, marriage or law. It is unclear how many of the 14 properties contained more than four unrelated persons living together, or what will happen to the residents that were living together illegally.
Code enforcement offices concentrated on the Hampton Bays area in part due to increased town-wide efforts to improve residents’ quality of life and enforce rental housing violations, according to the town.
On May 19th, the Southampton Town Board passed a local law transferring the entire rental permit application process from the building department to code enforcement. Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said, “The goal of this change is to coordinate more effectively the rental permit application process with inspections, enforcement, and related quality of life ordinances.”
The new law is just one part of the board’s efforts to restructure code enforcement in Southampton Town.
“We have restructured code enforcement,” said Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato, “so that we can take a more proactive approach to addressing health and safety issues in our community especially as they relate to rental housing.”
As a result of renewed enforcement efforts, property owners must become compliant with the law or face significant fines adjudicated by the Southampton Town Justice Court.
Councilwoman Christine Scalera added, “Enforcement actions such as these will go a long way to assure that landlords comply with the law.”