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East Hampton’s rental registration to be enforced as of May

Nearly 200 rental registry numbers have been issued as part of a controversial new East Hampton Town law requiring absentee landlords to file certain information with the building department before leasing their premises.

Information to be kept on file includes the number of bedrooms and occupants in a house, and proof certain state maintenance requirements have been met. Applicants receive a rental registry number that they must use in any rental advertisements so information about the property can be tracked by officials.

The law, which Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said will be enforced beginning May 1, is part of an effort to get control over illegal shared houses that attract young disruptive visitors to summer resorts such as Montauk.

Applications for the rental registry became available Feb. 1. Violators, including landlords and tenants, are subject to prosecution.

Ann Glennon, the town’s building department head and principal building inspector, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that 179 applications had been completed and rental registry numbers issued as of late Tuesday afternoon.

“They’re just now really starting to come in,” Glennon said of the applications. “It was a little slow getting started.”

Glennon said that in addition there have been “about another 40 or 50” applications submitted in the last couple of days for which rental registry numbers have not yet been issued.

When asked if anyone has expressed concerns about the registry or complained about having to file the applications, Glennon said, “Nobody seems to be having a hard time with it, and they’re submitting the proper paperwork that we need.”

Opponents of the new law have argued that it represents government interference in their personal business.

Asked if he is pleased with the application numbers so far, Cantwell noted there would also be a townwide mailing sent out by the middle of next month reminding landlords of the new measure.

“People still have a lot of time to register,” Cantwell said. “We’re going to begin enforcing the law on May 1 so we’ll see what happens from there.”

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