The start of the fall semester at Stony Brook University has renewed efforts to crack down on illegal off-campus student housing in neighboring communities, university and Brookhaven Town officials said Friday.
Officials encouraged students who rent homes to ensure their landlords comply with local laws — and report suspected violations to town or university officials.
“We care about the health and safety of the students at Stony Brook University,” Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Friday at a news conference at the Stony Brook Fire Department. “What we don’t want to see is the proliferation of illegal rooming houses that don’t meet code.”
Many Stony Brook and Setauket residents have complained in recent years about parties, traffic and other problems they blame on rental homes that serve as unofficial dormitories. Rental homes must have a town permit and may house no more than four non-related residents.
Officials credited students and local residents with helping them bring landlords to court for building and fire code violations. Town officials said they have cited 400 Stony Brook-area homes for violations in recent years.
The town collected $211,000 in fines last month and $197,000 in fines in July, officials said.
The university has about 25,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and about 10,000 beds on campus. Officials expect to add 173 beds next fall.
Judith Greiman, the university’s senior vice president for government and community relations, said university and town officials have worked together on efforts to address off-campus housing issues. While the town has taken landlords to court, the university has helped students find legal housing, she said.
“This is a success story,” she said. “It has been a very strong collaboration between the town and the university and the local community.”
Bruce Sander, president of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, said those efforts have reduced problems for local residents. But he said he is hearing more complaints now that classes have resumed.
“We had improvement for quite a while, and now we have to ramp it up again,” Sander said.