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East Hampton rental-registry workshops slow to fill for public sessions

East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell is shown in

East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell is shown in this file photo taken on Jan. 5, 2016 at town hall. Credit: Staff

Workshops held Wednesday to acquaint real estate professionals with East Hampton Town’s controversial new rental registry law were filled to capacity, but the sign-up has been slower for sessions scheduled next week for landlords and other members of the public.

The measure, adopted in December, requires property owners not living on the rental premises to file an application with the town building department before advertising their rental or entering into a lease. Required information includes the number of bedrooms and occupants in a house. Landlords who do not register are subject to prosecution.

About 70 participants attended each of two sessions Wednesday. Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in an interview Tuesday that he was “not concerned” about registration for the Jan. 27 workshops.

“Obviously local brokers have informed their staff of the [workshop] opportunities available to them and have pushed it [for them to attend],” Cantwell said.

Realtors at Wednesday’s workshop represented such firms as Douglas Elliman, Sotheby’s, Hamptons Realty Group and Town & Country.

Phyllis J. Willkoff, president of Hampton Villas International Inc., attended the afternoon session and expressed confidence that most property owners will comply with the law.

“I think they will because it’s such a beautiful area and everyone wants to keep it that way,” she said, referring to East Hampton.

But a representative for the group Stop the Rental Registry said the lack of interest among property owners shows many do not intend to comply with the new law.

“We are not surprised the attendance is low,” the group said in a statement, which also indicated there may be legal challenges to the law. “The East Hampton Town Board has engendered a lot of distrust by passing a law despite well-documented overwhelming community opposition.

Cantwell and other local officials said the law is necessary to help prevent overcrowding, illegal parking and other problems with shared houses rented in Montauk and other areas that attract disruptive young summertime visitors.

Colleen Reynolds, assistant to the supervisor, said that as of Wednesday afternoon, 30 people had signed up for the 1 p.m. session on Jan. 27, 26 had registered for the 3 p.m. workshop and 15 had signed up for the 5 p.m. session, all of which will be held at Town Hall.

Cantwell said that by next month pamphlets with more information about the rental registry will be available at Town Hall offices and other locations. Applications will be available beginning Feb. 1, but enforcement will not begin until May 1.

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