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East Hampton board again considers registry law for summer rentals

Supervisor Larry Cantwell in front of East Hampton

Supervisor Larry Cantwell in front of East Hampton village hall on Nov. 15, 2012. Photo Credit: John Roca

A draft of a new rental-registry law targeting overcrowding and other problems at shared summertime rentals was presented Tuesday during a work session of the East Hampton Town Board.

The proposed law is among the latest measures town officials have initiated to get control over young rowdy summer visitors, who were particularly disruptive this past summer, especially in the hamlet of Montauk.

A rental-registry proposal considered by the board last year was scrapped after opposition to what some considered an "intrusive" plan. In the wake of the hamlet's disruptive July Fourth weekend, board members decided to revisit the idea.

"It's been overhauled substantially" and is much more streamlined and specific, said Assistant Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski, who presented the draft to the board.

The proposed cost to register a property for two years is $250; registration updates would cost $25.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell has said there are safety and noise issues involved when 10 or 20 tenants occupy a house meant for single-family use and that the overcrowded dwellings are often the site of disruptive partying.

The proposed law would require homeowners who rent their properties to register with the town before leasing them. Homeowners renting to immediate family members would be exempt. The law would also not apply to owner-occupied dwellings, and the names of tenants would not be required.

Other homeowners renting to tenants would have to obtain a rental-registry number, to be issued by the building department, and list it in any leasing advertisements. That number would remain attached to the property so that data can be cross-referenced if a complaint is made. It would also allow officials to track short-term rentals.

A new number would be assigned only if the property changes hands.

Homeowners would also be required to submit a certificate of occupancy and a notarized inspection checklist, which includes having a house number that is visible from the street; handrails on all stairways; and working smoke detectors in every room.

Anyone who is required to register and does not would face a fine of $3,000 to $15,000, up to six months in jail or both. A violation can also be issued for every day that a person fails to register.

No dates were set for a public hearing on the proposal or board action on the measure.


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