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Montauk single-family house illegally shared, officials say

East Hampton Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski on Jan.

East Hampton Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski on Jan. 27, 2016. He said the search warrant for the Beech Hollow Court home on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, followed a monthslong investigation. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Eighteen people were found to be occupying an illegal three-bedroom single-family share house in Montauk early Saturday when a search warrant was executed, a Town of East Hampton official said.

Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said the discovery followed a monthslong investigation of the Beech Hollow Court home where tenant Alina Gersham was renting out rooms, parts of rooms, the illegally converted basement and the pool house to 17 occupants for as much as $1,800 per room for a weekend.

East Hampton Town code enforcement officers, building inspectors, fire marshals and local police executed the search warrant shortly after 6 a.m.

Charges against the 18 occupants include selling of shares, no smoke detectors, building without a permit, no certificate of occupancy, improper egress for bedrooms in the basement, and conversion of the house from single-family to multifamily use.

Dozens of town code infractions include rental registry violations that require the landlord to notify the building department when the number of tenants changes and when new rental periods begin and end, Sendlenski said.

Sendlenski said property owner Thomas Mahal was served with an appearance ticket Saturday at his Gates Avenue residence in Montauk.

Neither Mahal nor tenant Gersham could immediately be reached for comment.

All of the defendants are scheduled to appear in East Hampton Justice Court on Sept. 26. The investigation of the property and those charged was continuing.

According to town records, the house has a certificate of occupancy for three bedrooms, Sendlenski said.

He said investigators found the basement and pool house had been converted to provide a total of nine bedrooms, the additional six bedrooms illegally added.

The basement bedrooms were “dangerously arranged” as they did not have required egress windows to provide for escape in the event of a fire or other emergency and lacked smoke detectors, Sendlenski said.

Public safety officials found the pool house at the premises was illegally converted to a bedroom and was being occupied by two occupants, Sendlenski said. The illegal basement bedrooms brought the total number of occupants to 18, he said.

“As we start this busy holiday weekend, all of our Public Safety staff, especially the Code Enforcement Department who led this investigation, deserve commendation for all their hard work and vigilance in protecting our community,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in a news release. “Our Town will not tolerate violations of our Town Code, especially those sections designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our single-family neighborhoods and community at large.”

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