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Huntington may require permits for rental homes

A sign outside Huntington Town Hall is seen

A sign outside Huntington Town Hall is seen in an undated photo. Credit: Alexi Knock

Town of Huntington officials could tighten local laws for nonowner-occupied rental properties.

Town board member Tracey Edwards is planning to sponsor a resolution at Tuesday's town board meeting for a public hearing next month to consider increasing the standards of the current rental registration law. If approved, the measure would require landlords of nonowner-occupied properties to obtain annual permits before a unit can be shown to prospective tenants and certify annually that the units meet all town codes. The process will go from being a registration to a permitting process.

Edwards said the changes would address safety concerns brought to her attention by first responders, who pointed out that many times they don't know the actual layout of some of the dwellings they enter, such as those that have been illegally subdivided.

"Also, when I was reviewing the code it looks like there is a disparity in how we treat landlords," Edwards said. "If you are renting a home and you live in the house there are restrictions and obligations that you must fulfill, which include that you're meeting the building and fire code upfront, but in nonowner-occupied rentals, those obligations were not present."

Besides the permit, which would also be required for hotel and motel rooms, the law would establish procedures and fees and require that an application include a certification from a licensed professional engineer, architect or town code enforcement officer that the property complies with all local, state and federal codes, laws and regulations.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said he supports the legislation as a common-sense measure to protect first responders and tenants and promote fairness to all landlords in the town.

"This gives an opportunity to know who they are and where they are and how to get to them," he said. "And we charge people when they rent out part of their home most likely to make ends meet, so why don't we charge people who are doing this for a profit?"

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