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Lindenhurst proposes amending zoning law to allow prosecution of tenants in rental units

The Village of Lindenhurst is proposing changes to

The Village of Lindenhurst is proposing changes to its zoning law that would put tenants in rental units or houses on the hook for violations. Village clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane said depending on the circumstances, both landlord and tenant could be ticketed. Cullinane is pictured here on Feb. 7. 2012. Photo Credit: Judy Cartwright

The Village of Lindenhurst is proposing changes to its zoning law that would put tenants in rental units or houses on the hook for violations.

There will be a public hearing on the law change Tuesday night. The village is proposing that tenants face penalties for any violations of village zoning law, such as having abandoned cars on the property or doing work on the building without a village permit, said village clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane.

Previously, Cullinane said, "tenants were almost immune and they didn't care what was going on because the landlord was the one being targeted." The proposed change "gives us a lot more authority and a lot more teeth to the law," he said.

Depending on the circumstances, both landlord and tenant could be ticketed, Cullinane said. Penalties start at $250, according to the proposed changes, up from the current $50 minimum.

The village is also proposing adding a section to the law that stipulates penalties for any person who "enters or remains in any structure, building or premises" that has been deemed "unsafe, unlawful or not fit for human occupancy" by a building or zoning inspector or a fire marshal. Those found guilty face a fine of $2,500 to $7,500 and up to a year in prison.

The changes also now make it unlawful for renters, in addition to owners, to take up residence in a building that does not have a rental permit. The village also added a "validity" section to this portion of the law, should it be challenged in court, noting that if any part of it is "held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, then said holding shall in no way affect the validity of the remaining portions of this law."

The public hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, 430 S. Wellwood Ave.

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