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Babylon votes to create rental permit board despite opposition from some landlords

The Babylon Town Board voted unanimously to create

The Babylon Town Board voted unanimously to create a seven-member board that will decide whether to grant and renew rental permits. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Babylon Town Board voted 5-0 Monday to create a rental permit board, but may add protections for landlords stuck with bad tenants.

The board passed the measure at a special meeting.

The town held a public hearing earlier this month on the proposed seven-member board, which will decide whether to grant and renew rental permits. The board will oversee all rentals except for accessory apartments where the landlord is on site, and which have their own board. No other town on Long Island has a rental permit review board.

“This is giving us another way to pull the bad landlord in, not let it get out of control for a long period of time, not have him or her play the court system with us and allow for the good neighbors and the good landlords to be able to live in peace,” Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said at the hearing.

Richard Ubert, who is chairman of the Amityville Village zoning board and a landlord in the town, said he opposes the new board.

“It can get complicated between landlords and tenants,” Ubert said. “I can be at the property on Monday and come back a week later and there’s an unregistered car.” Ubert said he, not the tenant, would receive the violation notice.

In an email to the town, Ubert wrote that the proposed board “will add more confusion and red tape to the landlord tenant process” and will “push landlords and tenants out” of the town. He proposed creating a tenant rental permit, something Schaffer said the town is considering.

Another landlord also spoke out against the proposed board, while several residents expressed approval.

In an email to the town, Christine Eger, of West Babylon, called the board “vital” to communities and said her neighborhood has been dealing with an owner who “lives in an upscale neighborhood in Nassau County” and “has had no interest in remedying his tenants’ bad behavior.”

Schaffer said officials will continue to talk to landlords to address their concerns.

“They raised some very valid issues,” he said. “We want to make sure that we work with the landlords because they are the ones who are providing some much-needed rental housing.”

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