FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Garvey, 631-283-6055
Investigation Finds Illegal and Unsafe Conditions in Hampton Bays Dwelling
Numerous Charges Issued at 3 Surf Street
On February 21, 2012 members of the Investigations and Enforcement unit assisted by the Fire Marshal‘s Office and Southampton Town Police Department conducted an inspection at 3 Surf Street in Hampton Bays, pursuant to a search warrant. In total, 12 people were present in the house at the time of inspection including six young children. It was also noted that several regular residents of the home were not present at the time.
The result of the inspection revealed that the house, which has a certificate of compliance for a two-family home, had been converted to include a third residence at this location. The third residence was located in the basement and included two additional bedrooms which did not meet minimum size requirements. Additionally, the third residence lacked smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and code-complaint emergency escape windows. Further, a complete bathroom and kitchen had been installed without inspection.
"These are completely intolerable living conditions, and particularly egregious where so many children are involved,” said Councilman Jim Malone. “Our town codes are designed to protect our residents and nothing short of full compliance is acceptable."
The inspection also revealed no working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in any location in the house. Electrical violations were found such as a live and unsecured 220 volt line, electrical extension cords in place of permanent wiring, and combustible materials in close prolixity to the furnace, resulting in a fire hazard.
“The violations found at the site exemplify why the rental law and its enforcement are so important,” said Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who sponsored the 2007 code change and serves as a liaison for such issues. “The Town requires an inspection precisely so tenants can live safely and escape easily in an emergency situation, if needed. “
Emely Trejo, a property owner, was present at the time of inspection and issued an appearance ticket for multiple code violations. Trejo will appear in justice court at a later date.
“It is unlawful and inhumane to subject people to these living conditions,” said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “Property owners who permit egregious housing violations that comprise the safety of residents and undermine the quality of life for community members will be prosecuted to the extent of the law,” she said.
While investigation of the property is ongoing, the current charges are:
- No smoke detectors (10 counts)
- No Carbon monoxide detectors (5 counts)
- Building without a permit
- Plumbing without a permit
- Electrical work without a permit
- Ceiling Height too low in basement apartments
- Bedrooms too small
- No emergency escape windows in basement (4 counts)
- Electrical hazards
- No rental or accessory apartment permit
- Property maintenance
- Building without permits (5 counts)
- Occupying w/o proper Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of Occupancy
- Litter & debris
- 2 unregistered vehicles
“State and local building codes aren’t just about preserving community character or improve aesthetics,” said Christine Preston Scalera, who has been a Code Enforcement liaison since joining the Town Council in January. “Illegal rentals are typically unsafe rentals and the goal is to prevent dangerous living conditions.”
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