Lawsuit claims town's ban on short-term rentals is discriminatory

A lawsuit filed against the Town of Riverhead claims the town's ban on short-term rentals violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

A lawsuit filed against the Town of Riverhead claims the town's ban on short-term rentals violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

A lawsuit filed against the Town of Riverhead claims the town's ban on short-term rentals violates the federal Fair Housing Act. (9/19/16)

RIVERHEAD - A lawsuit filed against the Town of Riverhead claims the town's ban on short-term rentals violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

The town passed a law back in 2013 banning rentals of less than 30 days after receiving complaints that rented homes were turning into "party houses."

The law is now being challenged by Virginia Greico, who runs a rental company that manages beach cottages for their owners. Greico's suit claims the short-term rental ban is discriminating against families.

"They are actually telling these families, 'You are not allowed to come to the Town of Riverhead unless you come here for 30 days,'" she says.

According to the rental agency's attorney, there have been no quality-of-life complaints filed with the town against the rental properties in question. He says the homes all have rental permits, have been inspected by the building department and "pay a lot of money in taxes."

Residents who live next door to the rental properties have mixed reactions to the 30-day rental law. Some say they would be OK with short-term rentals as long as noise and other laws are enforced.

Town of Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter would not comment about the federal lawsuit. But News 12 obtained video of a town board meeting where Walter said the town will be filing a lawsuit against the rental agency.

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